Once a serene little farming village located just 12 miles outside of Paris, Goussainville-Vieux Pays is now almost completely abandoned—leaving only an eerie shell of its formally quaint self and a handful of residents (including one shockingly optimistic book seller).
The exodus first started after an incredibly unlucky turn; the spot caught the interest of city planners in the 1960s who were looking for a rural location to build Charles de Gaulle Airport. Ultimately, the international travel hub was built so close to the poor town that it's now actually considered part of the runway—hardly a pull for perspective buyers. After a gruesome plane crash during the Paris Air Show in 1973 that demolished some 15 homes and a school, which caused the first wave of Goussainville-Vieux Pays residents to pack-up and leave, it was only a matter of time before the rest of the town left, fed up with the onslaught of constant noise and pollution when the airport officially opened the following year.
Perhaps propelled by Internet users' appetite for the ghost cities of the world, Reuters photographer Charles Platiau recently made a trip back to the crumbling village armed with early-20th-century postcards from happier—and livelier—times. Do take a look at the resulting side by side comparisons: