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Paris catacombs - april - 2015

Discussion in 'European and International Sites' started by merryprankster, May 11, 2015.

  1. merryprankster

    merryprankster formerly oakleyframer
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    Right so here's my two pence worth on the Paris catacombs, of course there's already a rather large amount of reports on the place and im sure the pics and info arent anything new but i am hoping another one wont hurt.

    My first explore down there and visited with speed, badge and monkey, firstly big thanks to speed for keeping us on course, definitely not a place to be getting lost! was an awesome weekend i definitely wont be forgetting in a hurry, itching to get back down already.

    The Explore -
    I've wanted to get down the catas for about 3 years now, pretty much since i found about them to be honest, instantly knew it was an adventure that had to be ticked off at some point and i'm glad i've now ticked that box. It started off with me randomly seeing a mention of a catas trip on the bank holiday and so i got in touch with speed and got the ball rolling, we got into paris train station and i was grinning ear to ear pretty much as soon as i got into my 'worlds worst waders' (quick note to anyone going down and in need of waders- DONT BE TIGHT), unfortunately i made the mistake of thinking waders might be one of those things i could get away with skimping on and getting away with cheapos, its not and you cant! If your going down and need waders get decent quality, thigh waders, dunlops seem to be the general accepted standard for this type of endeavor, dont get piece of crap, waist high fishing waders with brillo pads on the bottom, the soles of my cheap nasty waders were flapping around like a couple of kermit the frogs before we had even got on the map! obviosuly they were designed for some watery tart standing around scratching his arse fly fishing, not hauling ass around a network of underground, partially flooded tunnels for three days! so yeah INVEST in quality waders!

    ok so we got in up onto the map fairly late ish of an evening on the Saturday, there were some Parisians having a bit of a booze up in la plage (the beach) when we arrived, so called because of the "great wave off kanagawa" mural by Japanese artist hokusai (pic below). Though we crossed paths with parisians at la plage we kept on motoring to find a room to get our heads down for the evening, If i remember right it was oyster we ended up in, if it wasn't then it wasn't far, got oysters in my head for some reason from that first night!

    As far as my awful memory can recollect we started off Sunday heading off to see some bones, if its your first time down there and your saying seeing a bunch of few hundred year old bones strewn about the place isnt top of the to do list then ill go ahead and say your talking out your ass! so we made no bones about it in the morning and head out in search of some dead people, which didn't take us too long to find! we saw a couple of rooms with bones littering the floors of the tunnels and through a small crawl there was a sheer wall of compacted bones, i wondered if maybe they had been used to sure up a potential ceiling collapse? who knows, anyway it was a tiny little space with no chance of a tripod, the picture doesn't really do it justice, in all fairness its never going to be quite the same looking at a picture as actually having a wall of femurs a few inches from your face and saying to yourself "what in the cluckin fuck am i doing??" :p who knows but its kinda cool. After papping some bones for a bit i think (again my memory's crap so anyone who was there feel free to correct my memory, or lack there of) we headed up to the flag room, exactly what it says on the tin its a room with a flag in it, it was a bit of a mission getting here, good little low crawl, couldn't really take the bags with so speed held the fort at a tunnel intersection whilst us newbies flew solo to go and find it. pretty cool little space, nice tall vaulted ceilinged room next to what i think was an old air raid shelter?? some tidy graffiti in there aswell, if that's your cup of tetley + we found a dartboard- surprisingly with some arrows!-winner!after a couple of newbie wrong turns getting back to speed we headed off to find a spot for some lunchables, was quite a nice little room actually, its the pants quality pic with what im assuming was an old round stone well of some sort? After scran time we went off to go find one of the minerology office rooms, (kudos to speed for missioning around crawling trying to find these!) these are the pictures with the stone staircases that lead nowhere, apparently each step contained a mineral sample and a description, the sample position on the stairs was representative of its depth from the surface, i'm assuming the top course of ground level mineral would have been on the top step of the staircase and then for each step down the mineral displayed would represent of a certain depth deeper from the last sample.
    After the crawl back we headed up to the German bunker and the monks well, (again awfull quality pic as i kept forgetting to change my iso back after taking hand held shots-absolute bellend). We bedded down for the night in a rather fetid little room in the bunker but the remaining rum and a game of pervy pictionary made it a bit more entertaining, apparently we got visited in the night, (not in the way one might hope) by some bladdered, gatecrashing parisian wondering around the room we were in shouting ACEEEETONEE,
    i was out for the count but kind of feel like i missed out.

    onto monday, unfortunately monkey had to bail out earlier than us as he had an earlier train, so we missioned through some old cable runs, (which are great fun to slide down underneath on your ass), just watch your head and slow yourself down on the brackets!) and popped him up a manhole and went on our merry way. We then headed over to the grave of Philibert Aspairt, old phil was the doorkeeper of the Val-de-Grâce hospital and went on a mission back in nov 1793 to pinch some posh carthusian monks booze called 'Chartreuse', which he believed was stocked in the cellar of a convent under the Jardin de Luxembourg, the silly sausage went down there with only one sausage- that was meant to say candle but i'm not deleting it because that's a bloody funny thought, all sausage and no candle mate!. So yeah, he went down, got lost and snuffed it down there-poor bastard. lost and alone in the dark down there not a sausage to eat you havent really got much of a chance. Now he's got a tidy gravestone down there and has visitors from all over the place coming to visit him and is also recognized as the first ever cataphile, though i'm sure he was down there because of his love of posh monks booze and not his love of dank dark tunnels. After old pips grave we headed to another minerology office with one of the display staircases i described above, its the pic with the single set of steps. we then pointed ourselves south for the stomp back to the way we came in. we got to kip that night in a tidy little tucked away room not too far from where we stayed the first night, in the morning we took some graffiti shots and took a quick look in at the castle room, again-crap quality pic, lesson learned for next trip.
    all in its a bloody awesome an adventure as it was i dont think ive ever been so grateful for some sunlight a breeze and an ice cold can of pop! can remember grinning like a cheshhire cat as we stomped in our waders through paris station, all covered in flith, most likely stinking but happy as a pig in shit! fin


    bit of shameless toffee and tasting for the l'histoire

    The Paris Catacombs have their origins in the limestone quarries situated on the outskirts of the city. This natural resource has been in use since the time of the Romans, and provided construction material for the city’s buildings, as well as contributed to the city’s growth and expansion. It was only after during the second half of the 18th century, however, that the former limestone mines (now under the city as it expanded over the centuries) were transformed into burial places.

    By the 18th century, Parisian cemeteries such as Les Innocents (the largest cemetery in Paris) were becoming overpopulated, giving rise to improper burials, open graves, and unearthed corpses. Quite naturally, people living close to such places began complaining about the strong stench of decomposing flesh and the spread of diseases from the cemeteries

    In 1763, an edict was issued by Louis XV banning all burials from the capital. The Church, however, did not wish to disturb or move the cemeteries, and opposed the edict. As a result, nothing was done. The situation persisted until 1780, when an unusually long period of spring rain caused a wall around the Les Innocents to collapse, resulting in the spilling of rotting corpses into a neighboring property. By this time, the French authorities were forced to take action.

    In 1786, the former Tombe-Issoire quarries were blessed and consecrated, turning them into the Paris Catacombs. It took two years for all the bones from the Les Innocents to be transferred to the catacombs. Over the following decades, the bones of the dead were removed from cemeteries around Paris for reburial in the catacombs. Furthermore, the practice of burying the newly dead directly in the catacombs began after the French Revolution.

    It was only in 1859 that the final transfer of bones was undertaken during the renovation of Paris by Georges-Eugène Haussmann, and the work was finally completed in 1860. Seven years later, the catacombs were open to the public. In total the winding catacombs stretch over 300 kilometers (186 miles).

    Although the Paris Catacombs are still open to the general public today, access is limited to only a small fraction of the network. It has been illegal since 1955 to enter the other parts of the catacombs.

    Nevertheless, during the 1970s and 80s, the catacombs have been explored illegally by Parisian urban explorers known as Cataphiles. Some of the spaces have even been restored and turned into creative spaces. One of these underground caverns, for instance, was transformed into a secret amphitheater, complete with a giant cinema screen, projection equipment, a couple of films and seats. The neighboring area was revamped into a fully-stocked bar and a restaurant, perhaps where the patrons of the amphitheater could get a snack or a meal.

    It has been estimated that as many as 300 Cataphiles enter the catacombs each week via secret entrances. Non-Cataphiles and tourists, however, are not often welcome.

    From its beginnings as a limestone quarry to its use for the burial of the dead in the 18th century, and the part it plays today in the lives of the Cataphiles, the Paris Catacombs has been an important feature of the city.

    Although systematic exploration of the underground tunnels may bring to light the extent of the catacombs, it would probably not meet with approval from all quarters. After all, the secrecy of the catacomb networks, and the opportunity to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city above, are attractive concepts to the Cataphiles, and they would probably not let go of their haunts so easily.- here endeth the paste!

    If you're still readin then fair bloody play, you probably need a cup of tea after reading that lot, maybe even a shave!, just a few pics to go and we are done, i say a few its a bit pic heavy!



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    this is that wall of bones i was on a boot

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    the jewish fisherman look

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    do i need to label which room this is??

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    guess we were a few months late!

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    Minerlogy office display.

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    Phil the silly sausage booze bag Aspairts final resting place.

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    la plage mural, "great wave off kanagawa" by Japanese artist hokusai

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    thanks for taking the time ladies and jellyspoons, safe exploring and epic adventures kids.
     
    #1 merryprankster, May 11, 2015
    Last edited: May 11, 2015

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  2. Badge

    Badge 28DL Full Member
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    Funny recollection Oakley, really enjoyed reading that.

    Ah too bad about needing a return visit
     
  3. merryprankster

    merryprankster formerly oakleyframer
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    ahh crap forgot to prefix, if anyone with the knowledge and technology can sort it that would be appreciated, ta muchly
     
  4. Oort

    Oort The spice expands consciousness.
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    Great report, been wanting to get down there myself for a while now.
     
  5. Lavino

    Lavino 28ÐŁ ƦEGUŁλƦ U$EƦ
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    The looks really good enjoyed readin about your adventure you guys had a really good time down there
     
  6. Oxygen Thief

    Oxygen Thief Admin
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    I haven't read it yet, but just want to say that the first time we went to flag room it had a Tricolore hanging exactly there, and we've never seen once since. That's not the reason it's named the Flag Room though. I like the dartboard in Montparnasse as well, I wonder if it's a permanent fixture... might have to take some darts next time.

    Looks like Speed took you on a nice long route anyway, nice one.
     
  7. Lenston

    Lenston Bajo Tierra
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    Great pics there mate, quality write up :thumb
     
  8. The Kwan

    The Kwan funksoul Brother
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    Excellent report mate, I enjoyed reading it :thumb
     
    merryprankster likes this.
  9. merryprankster

    merryprankster formerly oakleyframer
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    cheers dude, was an awesome adventure!!
     
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