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Report - Paris Catas, June 2014

Discussion in 'European and International Sites' started by phreatic, Sep 7, 2014.

  1. phreatic

    phreatic 28DL Member
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    Time flies, hopefully i'll be forgiven for reporting on a trip several months completed, can't be a bad first explore anyway...

    I was drawn into a Paris catas trip by a couple of Welshmen (hailing from Devonshire myself and a caver by in large). None of us had been before.

    The whole thing coalesced rapidly in a bums rush of planning over a scant couple of weeks. We considered setting off in blissful ignorance, with only the survey and a very vague set of clues as to the entrance. Thankfully it did occur to us that talking to someone in the know might prove an astute move.

    OT came to our rescue, graciously assisting a group of unknowns. Over a decidedly ghee rich curry a superb overview was comprehensively divulged and he sent us on our way. Thanks to this we managed to pull off a cracking round-trip with nary a hitch.

    Our initial notions of the entrance approach would have resulted in a rapid end to progress upon encountering an immense steel door. We might have found the correct route eventually, but not without several hours of being the proverbial sore thumbs. Instead we enjoyed a confident approach, our only major balls-up was inexplicably overshooting the entry point. We faffed around beyond for a short while before being obliged to double back. In our panic we double checked all sorts of implausible alcoves and made the fatal error of disturbing an abandoned tramp nest... Oh The horror.

    Once underground it was clockwork. Most passage was simply luxurious, being possible to flat out run by in large. We went off reservation a couple of times, and found a place or two where ceiling and water got a bit close for comfort - clearly it could all get a bit desperate if you really lost your way in the wrong circumstances.

    Approaching La Plage on the sand crawl we heard the sinister throb of gabber music, passed the robot and promptly came upon a couple of locals at the Hokusai wave (which I was saddened to see has suffered some uncouth defacement). The Welshmen "Pays de galles" broke the ice with some good natured Anglophobic disparagement which I was happy to endure. The whiskey came out and the plan to camp up in Anschluss promptly went out the window.

    Fast and loose conversation ensued, roaming freely from French history and ethnography to the catas and beyond. We exchanged tales of adventures, I think I’ll paraphrase the winning story: In his misspent youth (apparently ongoing) one of our new friends had indulged in a bit of the old lysergic acid diethylamide and set off to wander the tunnels alone... A few hours later he was caught unawares by a group of young ladies whose acquaintance he had not previously enjoyed. He was found swimming laps through a flooded passage in a state of indecency. His wild eyed cries that all was well were met with considerable scepticism – surely not helped by the fact his undergarments were currently serving as unconventional headgear.

    Our excellent and hospitable new friends eventually left us to attend to their own dubious matters – but not before divulging the location of a hidden room nearby where we could find accommodation for the night. Worse for wear by this point, we were overjoyed at giving the considerable yomp north a swerve. Not quite ready for bed we wandered up to Trepanus and Human Bomb Room before hammocking up by about 5am.

    Over breakfast we were joined by a load of French teenagers, who piled in en masse for a friendly chat. We parted from them, sealed up our sleeping room and set off north for a rummage in the ossuaries. As predicted navigation got a bit tricky on the lowest levels under Monparnasse – but we had a good laugh running about and popping up in unexpected places.

    German Bunker, the Carthusian Monks Fountain and Vanne's in the south were all cracking highlights. The contrast of different stonework and eras of excavation kept things novel and interesting. Vanne's Aqueduct is well worth going off the beaten track for. A salubrious flow of water trickles through the tunnels there, punctuated with some lovely flooded shafts to submerged levels beneath. A stairwell in Vanne's allows one a rare glimpse of the streets above. Over in the far east we managed to wriggle into the impressive Salle Z and picked over the weekend party debris, including a few flyers advertising future events – we left Val de Grace for another time.

    We found the kilometre or so south from VDG can be absolutely blasted – we stopped only for a breather in the cracking little Mineralogy Office and to critique the murals in the Class Gallery. Having run out of all provisions but whiskey we were happy to call it a day at 26hrs, still leaving more than enough for future exploration.

    The pungent ammonia rich pong we had acquired obliged an urgent appointment with a shower. We were not the most popular commuters on the tram. I almost felt sorry for the immaculately dressed fellow who obviously disembarked for a night on the town – but unwittingly took a considerable amount of quarry smeg with him.

    Once again - cheers OT!

    [​IMG]
    Near La Plage

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    The Wave

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    Locals

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    Vanne's

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    Mineralogy Office

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    Carthusian Monks Fountain

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    Ossuaries

    And some museum stuff "permission visit" I guess.

    The skulls are apparently enjoying the "patrimony of the dead" but a few hundred metres away some unscrupulous fellows are using sacrum's and cranial bones as ashtrays.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    #1 phreatic, Sep 7, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2014

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  2. Wevsky

    Wevsky A Predisposed Tourist
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    Re: Paris Catas June 2014

    How well did the neoprene waders fair..much ripping or leaking?

    nice intro and youve captured it well mate
     
  3. Oxygen Thief

    Oxygen Thief Admin
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    Re: Paris Catas June 2014

    It was a pleasure to help you on your way, think I was still eating the curry days later, there was plenty of it.

    The catas seems to be all things to all people. It can be a lame-ass tourist trip or a proper hard explore, whatever you want.

    You were lucky in that the Frenchmen were there and hospitable, and even gave you some good info.

    Anyway, as per your email, catch up soon and do some stuff.
     
  4. phreatic

    phreatic 28DL Member
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    Re: Paris Catas June 2014

    Personally I went for these and found them to be spot on.

    Wevsky: Cheers. The neoprene waders put up with the abuse. However, at the risk of publicly divulging a friends deeply private information - they were responsible for a personal hell of bollock chafe and the main reason for a slightly abridged second day.

    OT: Excellent. It was a brilliant foundation trip, look forward to going back a few times and having a proper rummage off the beaten path.
     
  5. Rik UE

    Rik UE 28DL Regular User
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    Re: Paris Catas June 2014

    Very nice love this, and some nice photographs!
     
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