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Report - Kinky Paris, Feb 2010

Discussion in 'European and International Sites' started by Winchester, Mar 4, 2010.

  1. Winchester

    Winchester Nicht Normal
    28DL Full Member

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    Les Carrieres de Paris, the Catacombs, l’ossuaire municipal , the Catas, whatever you want to call them, they’ve been on the scene for years. Take the official tour along with the other quarter of a million others who do each year, see the bones, hear the story, emerge into the sunlight after an hour to shoot to le Louvre or la Tour Eiffel. Catas done, tick the box, au revoir.


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    Aside from the official tour, there are around 180km of catacombs that are not open to the public. Guarded by a group of ‘Cataflics’, the punishment for getting caught is a €60 fine and a slap on the wrist. Hence, the Cataphiles exist. A clandestine group of urban cavers, explorers, artists, graffers, partygoers and adventurers, the weekend sees the catas become a bustling hive of activity.

    We’d discussed Paris on several occasions on our last trip. Having spent weekends and weeks pro-hoboing, urban camping and generally having a good time above the surface, our group of usual suspects had the desires to visit Paris. “The Highs and Lows of Paris†was what we referred to the trip as during our planning, but we eventually spent minimal time above ground.

    Brad had visited once before, as the sole member of our group that had experienced the Catas before he had warned us to wrap up warm and bring everything reccomended on OT’s excellent Paris Packing list, which provided the framework for our kitbags.

    A small mountain of new kit was purchased, instilling the desire to get underground as often as possible. a headtorch, helmet, waders, mini tripod, 45 litre backpack, airbed, compact sleeping bag. My oldest and cheapest cameras came with me, accompanied by two disposables which recorded a fair amount of the trip. Out the pocket, wind it on, turn on the flash. Click. Photo taken, all done. No pissing around with lens changes, light painting, ISO or any of that malarky.

    We just made check-in for the ferry, they wanted to search the car, ‘Who’s the American’ sang the passport checker and eventually the ferry departed. The traditional pre-trip pint ran alongside the need to charge batteries for our SLRs. Arrival at Calais was easy, within minutes we were on our way to Paris. A brief Carrefour stop to fetch Blue Chimay, strawberry laces and a bit of food for later came and went, and by 11 we were at Marc’s, bearing a bottle of Port for our Parisien ami.

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    Marc climbed into the car and directed us to somewhere he wouldn’t name or tell us anything about. We climbed into what looked like a demolition site, scouted round for access to the roof and eventually found it. Marc told us the site’s history as an art deco Administrative Centre which was no longer required, and it was told that the Art Deco shell of the building was staying to be converted to a cultural centre.. On top of the roof was a clocktower, on top of the clocktower you could see the centre of Paris, including the Tour Eiffel with its epileptic fit inducting lightshow. Good start.

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    Bouncing down to the Montrouge area, we entered The Catas at about 2am. Having wrapped up warm in thermals, t-shirt, polo and hoody, I felt prepared. After half a mile of walking on railway sleepers, gravel, sandstone blocks, walking while crouched and carrying a bag that can only be described as ‘fucking heavy’, I was sweating buckets. Having changed into a T-shirt and only adding to the weight of my ’sac’, I comfortably ambled down to the castle room for a can of Desperados and an opportunity to take my first pics of the trip, as well as securing up my already rubbing waders with a plaster and some pink gaffer tape.

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    A small walk around later, which seemed to take an age and kill my feet, we stopped at a nice big room to sleep in. We set up tealights, the subject of Hot Wax came up in conversation and Marc had the concept of a kinky girl explained to him. Airbeds were inflated, Wasabi peanuts and baguettes filled with spaghetti hoops were eaten, stories were told and eventually we all slept.

    At 1pm I work up and after an hour of dozing we had some action. ‘Let’s Do One!' shouted Marc every time we needed to get going, and ‘Do One’ we did, seeing La Plage, La Cellier, The Mineralogy Office, Carrefour des morts (crossroad of the dead) loads and loads of tunnels and lots of smaller rooms to sit and drink or rest.

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    By about 11pm we had left and went straight to another destination, Cat and Olivier’s appartement near to our Catas entrance. Given that 5 dirty, dirty, stinky men had ambled into their flat, they were surprisingly hospitable and ordered us pizza, fed us water and showed us the prints for their exhibition which was going live in a few days. There seems to be an unspoken rule among explorers that whatever the time, whoever the persons, whatever their state, that hospitality will be presented. Despite the bitching and bullshit on the forums, The urbex community is genuinely friendly to genuine participants.

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