It’s the story of a renaissance. The renaissance of a building nestling up against the Gare de l’Est, a building which, in its architect’s imagination, was to express the might of the newly established Eastern Railways Company. Over the years, this railway city has fallen into disrepair, even suffering voluntary damage, and has been cut off from its surrounding district. Until today, some two years after renovation work began, following the SNCF’s (French National Railways Company) sale of the building in June 2006 to the Commissioners of works, Atemi, and ING Real Estate. No mean feat, indeed, including the Herculean task of filling in the vast cavity beneath the building. But one of detail and patience too. The architect, Anthony Béchu, was given the undertaking of renovating the edifice without betraying its history, giving new life to 11-21 rue d’Alsace in its original colours: the pale pink tones of the brickwork, the blue of the decors punctuating its façade. And on to the re-creation of a glass roof in its original location, a new pedestrian passage, a street between the Gare du Nord and the Gare de l’Est and the installation of the world’s largest private hanging garden. A renaissance completed in Autumn 2008.