Beneath Paris, Sights to Rival Those Found Above

Will Hunt explores Paris beneath the surface during a 14-mile trek underground with a group of urban explorers, and finds subterranean sights to rival those found on the famous streets above.
November 11, 2012, 5am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"Our aim is to examine the city's connection to its underground in a way no one has before: we will attempt to walk from the southern edge to the northern, using only catacombs, telecom tunnels, sewers and other hidden infrastructure. It is a 14-mile trek, every step illegal. The six of us-five Americans and an Australian-are prepared for a two- or three-day journey, with nights sleeping in the bowels of Paris. We have packed food, sleeping bags, an arsenal of flashlights and headlamps, and gas meters to alert us to any poisonous fumes in the sewers. It will be urban troglodytism, a walkabout in the wilderness under the city."

"Just as visitors to the surface of Paris follow a sight-seeing itinerary-Sacré Coeur, Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower-so do visitors to its underside. Wandering through the alcoves connected to La Plage, we visit a room with a Norman castle and rock-hewn gargoyles, a room heaped with silk flowers, a room lined with paintings of film characters. We encounter four separate groups of cataphiles. On a weekend night, La Plage is as crowded as most Parisian bars."

Thanks to Daniel Lippman

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Published on Friday, November 9, 2012 in Intelligent Life
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