It's been nearly two years since I last went to Paris Catacombs and as many people who have been will agree, it’s a life changing trip. The time had finally come to return and experience it again.
When I first went with Oxygen Thief, Paulo999 and Sixxfingers in Jan 06 we were the first 28dl group to stay underground for 24 hours (which is a standard trip these days). This time we did nearly three days, not a new record but a considerable length of time anyway.
There was a personal record set though; for one reason or another I ended up being awake from 9am Thursday morning until 7am Saturday morning. A whopping 46 hours! God knows how I did it lol.
Anyway on with the Explore. Flying into Charles de Galle Airport on Friday morning, Squirrell911 and me quickly made it over to Gard du Nord Station and met Oxygen Thief and Ozzy Cave Clan member Ken.
We then had to track down a Fishing Tackle shop near Notre Dame so Ken could get some much needed Waders.
Finally all kitted and stocked up with supplies, we entered the Catacombs via the usual route.
Our plan was to work our way up to the north of the network for 1am for meet the informous Rug and The Technician.
Stopping off for a rest at Foxy's Memorial in the Marie Rose Room then we moved on to Bysance
La Plage has had some awesome new artwork done since last time.
Two of the three walls of the recently finished Mural in La Plage
We stopped to eat in one of my favourite places in the Catacombs; Le Cellier
The Graffiti is just amazing in here
Beauty and the Beast
Then just as we were packing up to move on I saw this for the first time, nice work.
Ozzy Exploring legend De Sankt turned up with and a few others, so we ventured back to La Plage to speak to Ox, renowned as the main man in the Catacombs. After a couple of drinks and some meeting and greeting we really had to put some effort in to get to our northern meeting point on time.
Luckily Rug and The Technician were fashionably late . After some more socialising with them and some other Cataphiles we set off on a hunt for new exits, only to find them all recently blocked. By the time we got to the Chandelier Room about 5am we were all knackered. So we headed off to our bedroom for the night. Not without having to go through both of the Cubes Room sand trawls on the way though, which nearly finished me off. Finally Sleep :
Late Saturday morning we decided we needed to crack on and cover more ground, before the party at 10pm that night in the exactly the same place we had slept.
Our first stop was Saint Michel Stairs - a spiral staircase leading to the closest you can get to the surface with going out (nice foggy lens).
Val De Grace was totally new to me, a tricky network of tunnels and rooms.
Salle Z's arches and pillars are amazing.
We carefully navigated Sal De Musique, Sal Electrogene, Salle Des Ballons.
Squirrell and OT check the map at the gates to Salle Des Radios in Val De Grace.
Ken sits on the Garden Stairs.
Finally getting out of Val De Grace we moved on down the network.
Oxygen Thief studies the map at Philibert Aspairt's Grave.
The Mineralogy Office was used as a rest (and nap stop for Squirrell) which has taken some hammer since I was last there.
We then headed to the PY Room and decided that would be our base camp later, if we could find our way back mullered.
After a quick trip to the surface by OT and Squirrell for Beer and Cigs, while Ken and I greeted many Cataphiles on the way in, we headed north once again to find the Party.
A bustling room full of many nationalities, all with a love for being underground.
The Party was great fun as we joked and laughed with our new friends into the early hours. Squirrel was on top form, I don't think anyone knew what he was going on about (maybe it’s his Hull accent )
Just as we thought the party was ending and we headed off, we ran straight into another one in the corridor. Among this bunch of people was the charismatic Dirty skme, who entertained us all (the Megaphone story was particularly funny).
Someone decided to set off one of the infamous Catacombs smoke bombs.
Finally headed back about 2.30am we all bounced off the walls on the journey back to the PY Room, no one of really remembering it in the morning.
We woke and packed up late morning and took the ultimate exit, climbing a 100 foot shaft and exiting right onto a busy Paris Street on a Sunday Lunchtime.
After a wash and brush up we settled on a dirty Curry house near Gard Du Nord and then went our separate ways home.
Can I just finally say what an amazing weekend was had once again. Thanks to Oxygen Thief for map reading and not getting us lost and also thanks for the hospitality of all the Cataphiles we met along the way.
By the way, if you don't know what a plasterers Radio is, PM Oxygen Thief