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Report - Suburb quarries of Paris - September 2009.

Discussion in 'European and International Sites' started by tucker, Sep 21, 2009.

  1. tucker

    tucker Scallywag
    Regular User

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    A week long road-trip exploring the suburb quarries of Paris avec OT, Dweb, and Urban Junky(Dave).

    Our journey starts in the small rural village of Jaulzy, north-east of paris to find the drive-in quarries, home of a few underground land speed record attempts. We first check out D16 quarry, a live potato plant. A little too live, and very small so we move on.

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    Onto the next quarry, where we had earlier seen a tractor leaving, no doubt after unloading their potato haul. An hour or so later we are in said tractor quarry. Time to take some photos, dine on bread and cheese and admire some of the fossils that remain in the ceiling which must be millions of years old.

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    The quarry is made up of very large chambers, high ceilings and wide haulageways, ample space to drive a tractor through i think you'll agree.

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    After some chat and some more photos, it suddenly occurs we are not the only people in the quarry. Out with the lights, no talking. All we can hear is a faint rumble at first, getting gradually louder and louder. By now there is not only noise but now light, as the headlights of the tractor rebound off the quarry walls, getting closer and louder. Its headed straight for us! Trying to run and hide in a quarry with no light is not very simple, but we hole up as Mr. John Deere unloads his trailer just yards from where we are hiding.

    Cue another mad couple of minutes as the engine is revved so much you can feel the quarry vibrate. The tractor leaves back into darkness and luckily avoids us on his way out.

    The tractor was not the only vehicle in the quarry however...

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    Sacre Bleu!

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    What a quarry to start with, but now time to move on. No chance of using the main entrance or we may bump into our tractor friend if were unlucky.

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    We head South of Paris that evening, to see the Sand quarry at Puiselet. Set in dense woodland, Puiselet is one of very few sand quarrys in France, and home to the finest, whitest sand i've ever seen.

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    The quarry environment is crazy with some truly huge chambers, and curvy walls, many of which simply crumble away. Maybe this is what the surface of the moon would look like.

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    This theme continues outside of the quarry. We sleep in a cavern of rock with mad shelves and ledges shaped by water from many moons ago.

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    Easily one of my favourite places to stay the night. Under the stars (and the rock!), time for a big fire, bottles of port and beer, and then sleep.

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    The next day we are west of Paris in the small town of Henocq to explore its vast, limestone quarry, again set underneath some woodland.

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    We spend hours navigating the quarry, crossing from network to another, and it is a good chance to see the injection method where quarries are filled with cement. This involves lots of stooping and crawling but i enjoyed seeing this.

    What we were really looking for is the V2 rocket storage tunnel used by the Nazis during WW2. It was part of the old quarry but converted by the nazis for two reasons. A) Good protection from allied attacks because it is surrounded by the limestone quarry, which was used until the 1970s. And B) Its close proximity to the rail network for transporting the rockets.

    After couple of hours looking unsuccesfully for the hole in the ceiling of the tunnel, we find it, 10 minutes from the original way we went in the quarry.

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    After much discussion of the best way to descend the awkward 30ft drop into the tunnel we settle for a rope ladder. It is one way in, one way out access to the tunnel, and we've heard of peoples ropes being cut many times before and for this reason UJ stays up top keeping an eye out for any unwanted visitors.

    By no means the safest way but it does the job perfectly and by god is it worth it.

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    We start at one end of the tunnel, and the quarry injection has flooded through enough that it creates a slope and is high enough to touch the ceiling

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    But the rest of this 450m long, 10m high tunnel is easily one of the largest underground spaces i have ever been in.

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    I did not take many pictures of the tunnel but there were two junctions for the loading of trucks, and much machine gun fire on the pillars of the tunnel, which was very interesting to see and helped to try and imagine the tunnel occupied back in the day.
    One more for scale

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    We need a place to sleep that night and are told of an old Napoleonic fort in the pleasant town of Buc just outside of Paris.

    Trying to get round the huge moat in the dead of night is not easy, so we settle for sleep in the woods, and you guessed it, another big ass fire.

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    Up early(ish) next morning and were in.

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    Fort Du Haut Buc was built in 1871 as part of the defence of Paris and Versailles, and is now owned by the interior ministry of France. The construction and layout was very impressive and was like an equivalent of the detached bastion in Dover.

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    Thought the graffiti was worth a photo or too as well

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    It was also enjoyable to explore something overground for a few hours

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    The old lift
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    And tunnel leading to the building at the rear of the complex

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    And this just had to be done...

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    To be continued...​
     
    #1 tucker, Sep 21, 2009
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2009

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  2. tucker

    tucker Scallywag
    Regular User

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    We leave Fort de Buc and miss out on a shoot for a dirty movie as we leave :eek: No photos, epic fail. :rolleyes:

    Off into the centre of Paris to meet Rug, for a drink and a smoke and off into the city for some more drinks. That night we will be visiting the 13th district, located on the second busiest roundabout in Paris. Place D' Italie.
    We arrive from the metro 10pm on a Friday night. From the minute or so walk from the station to the manhole, we must see at least 5 cop cars, even one undercover. We need to pick the right moment, and it needs to be quick, very quick!

    The manholes are very heavy! Although i did not lift, i think it might be my turn next time! It is hard work but we are in and down the long ladder. 2 minutes ago we were above ground, and now firmly underground we hear several bangs on the manhole. No time to wait and see if it will be cops or cataphiles and so we are off into the 13th. We wait, and now the lights are getting very close. Lucky for us it is a young couple who infact had the cops shouting for them after their entry. We meet in the PTT room, share a smoke and find time to relax a little bit.

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    This room was infact an old Bunker, maybe popular for gatherings by the looks of it

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    We meet the couple again later that evening after a bit of a wander. Candles flickering, music playing, they are both scrubbing away, wire brushes in hand, getting rid of tags and graffiti. This is great to see as the 13th was a very small, less visited network compared to the GRS, with some very nice features to boot.
    We say our farewells to find the two minerology offices and quarrymans restroom which were also awesome to see. I had stopped taking photos at this point, feeling very tired. We grab 2 hours sleep in one of the offices and are out of the same manhole early saturday morning. Time for more sleep.

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    Saturday and we are back into Paris to pick up Rug. We check out one lead which proved unsuccessful but later that day we will be meeting with Teknicien to explore the N.A.T.O quarry and what an explore this was.

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    Armed with Carbide lamps, Port, White Wine, Cigars and Food we get in later that night. I was truly shocked, and this was easily one of my favourite places visited all week. A huge-scale quarry, all manor of relics left behind, tanks, armoured vehicles, cars, jeeps you name it!

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    The size of the place was also astounding. One huge tarmac road running through the middle, kitchens, canteens, and endless corridors leading to the old Nato buildings. At times it felt like walking round a building aboveground. It really was a labyrinth that went on and on!

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    Teknicien arrived, time for a good drink and smoke and then a very good explore

    L'acete a plenty

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    The Carbide Car tested by Teknicien. Looked like great fun and made hell of a noise!

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    In ur tanks

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    More vehicles

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    We also met a group of around 10 explorers whilst in here which was cool, and was a great end to an amazing week. For me, this is what exploring was all about, going new places, meeting new people and not knowing where your gonna stay that night or what you will see. Truly epic!

    A Massive thanks to Rug, Teknicien, DirtySkeme, David, OT, Dweb, Dave and all the french explorers we met during the week. Great to meet some new faces, all so welcoming and willing to share, i look forward to going to Paris again!

    Tucker :)​
     
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