Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Night in the Paris Catacombs

So after a few not so successful trips down the catas, in that we saw virtually nothing other than bad graffiti and a lot of water, I was invited down by some people who knew them a bit better-- and had a map I was actually able to read...

After having been told I would have to climb in through a man hole (and silently panicking for a few days prior- I have stood under some of those and have seen how high they can be), I was actually let off and we went in through the more famous and easier way. Though only just. I was then led by the one friend that has come out to meet me, as I was only on a one night trip down due to work constraints, and we spent just over and hour trying to catch up with the others. It was easy enough, until an attempted short cut led us into water up to my waist, my guide was considerably taller and better prepared than I. 

One of the things I found the most interesting was walking down the roads underneath Paris that I frequently used above ground. Rue d'Alesia being one of them. It was also rather surreal walking underground from more or less where the Rabbit Warren was to my old university, and tying associations to the paths we went to the routes above. My accomplices being all British did not get the same kick I did, thought did find my various squeaks amusing. 

The first room I saw was the "Castle Room" ("Salle du chateau"), which of course had a castle in it and a few other bits. Mainly toys.

This lego lion made me laugh, as did the rather funny gargoyle heads, Though I admit it is a shame about all the glitter stuck to the castle, looks like the kind of art work the kids in my art workshops would do.

We did a lot more walking, met some more people, and then had a small break in this room (below) which stank to high heavens, probably the least sanitary place I have ever eaten but hey...! Spirit of the adventure, I didn't care, and I was already pretty filthy. It had been very creatively dubbed "The Sword Room". There was momentary debate over whether the texture of the surface of the rock indicated chicken sacrifice or fiberglass. The fiberglass argument won out, especially considering as the sword was fairly secure in it's rock. 

After a final leg of walking we found a series of rooms, the first few of which were to be my accomplices' sleeping spots for the night, the last was to be our party room. I brought the world's worst rum, unbeknownst to me until we were too far away from any Carrefour to source anything better. So I just pirated booze off of everyone else.

Photo courtesy of a friend.
After several hours of trying not to drink myself too far and perhaps achieving exactly that, we followed some well practiced cataphiles out at a speed I couldn't quite hold (due to my terrible footwear), though several TINY holes not much bigger than I and up several flights of steps, where we finally resurfaced at 6am via a triangular man hole. It wasn't until we hit ground level that I realized just how exhausted I was. 

I leave you with a photo of me reading the lovely English map that my friend had (rather than my tiny French ones).

Photo courtesy of a friend.

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