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Report - A french urban explorer in england / How far beer can get you


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As some of you know, OT & deewb are really good friends of mine. They come to Paris to see some suburbs quarry and bring english fellows to the catacombs. They are used to stay the week. Each time I know it's going to be great. On tuesday 31 march we were in a very good bar in Paris talking about all the explore we were about to do this week. We were (me more than the other ;)) drunk and I promess them i will go back to england with them this time....

This is my story on how i went exploring to the french's best ennemy country with 45€ for a week:

Monday 6 april

After a non sleep night in my (ex)girlfriend home (...) i came back to my place at 5 AM where OT and dweeb were about to leave. They drove to the eurostar with OT car and we arrived in UK. Strait to OT house we had a good english breakfast and dweeb took his car to go back to his place. OT already had a plan for us, he wanted to take me to Brown's quarry. We went there with Lili his dog.

It doesn't look very different from our french limestone quarry, i've noticed that the way they extract the stone was almost the same. The second part of the explore really stunt me, a big part of it was transformed during WW2 in an ammunition storage. Very large rooms with a special floor to avoid sparks. I was still able to see the railway network used to carry the ammo and explosive material. As he's used to do in the cata OT made some food and some coffee.

Later that day he shows me some photo of this place full of thousand tons of explosive and bombs. The idea of that much TNT in the same place still makes a very strong impression on me. Workers must have been very close from death everytime. I had a very good day discovering for the first time the english underground with a good friend and his "climbing dog".

Thuesday 7 april

Get up after a very good night OT wanted to take me to an other quarry, the one he told me about since a long time : Box. Driving there he shows me on the way the english country side, it was very pleasant. As the day before I had my carbite lamp and Lili was with us.

At the begining that one looked the same as Browns even more touristic. He told me the "quarry mens pub" next to the entrance is used provides map and a path that you can follow for a touristic tour in the quarry. It really surprised me : in France we are not allowed to go underground. I guessed Box and Browns were extracted the same way, the pillars & confortations looks the same even if rooms a smaller. The quarry has collapsed a lot it scared me sometimes, we had to climb over 2-3 or 4 meters of rock every 20 meters. Lili was even climbing easier that me.... I saw the biggest shaft in my small life, a place called "the cathedral". Very impressive !

I noticed more social life in that quarry than in Browns : more grafiti & more rooms. I liked a lot the "robots room" were we stopped for lunch. OT also told me that Roots is making a room somewhere in the quarry. I can understand that very easily. Lots of places are good to build something, lots of rocks were already cutted to build tables or a seats. The only thing to avoid is the humidity. I left some french Cata sign in some places...

Following the touristic tour we got lost on a fake information of the tour. If we were in France i would said it was made in purpose but maybe english explorers are nicer...?

Seeing almost intact wood crane was also very good for me, I used to imagine them from the parts we have in France but I never saw it like that. People should really take care of this heritage as for the tools left in the quarry.

On the way back home we stopped to the quarry mens pub for my first english beer. Loads of tools, photos and even some carbite lamp to see and most of all, I had a chance to see an authentic pub. Staying on a regular english trip for a french guy, i had fish & chips for dinner (they were much better than yours dweeb ;))

Wenesday 8 april

Dweeb came to OT's place to pick me on the morning with his girlfriend. We went to Derby to explore an abandoned listed theater. I never went into that type of explore, as far as I know we do not have this in Paris (but now i have some ideas...). It was partly destroyed but still we can see how nice it was and lots of things were still in : bingo tickets, desk and administration papers, bars and glass... The colors of this theater were really oldschool, from pink to purple, we cannot imagine a theater like that now.

Then, we went to a big railway deposit still in the city. We didn't manage to get in but the building was really nice with an unusual shape.

Finding back miss dweeb we went back to the car & made our way to the countryside to see some cooling towers. This was huge, I was a bit scared (i have vertigo when i see something too high for me...) And this was almost without fondation. The echo in those towers is brilliant and we managed to see some part of the cooling system.

Last explore of the day was an abandoned potery factory. We arrived there and it was like a ghost town for me. Everything was still there as if the workers just left for lunch break. Tools, papers, finished potery, unfinished potery... I saw an oven with a bottle shape, very unusual for me. I was in a very happy mood and i decided to play with a fire extinguisher showing miss dweeb how silly french people can be in an explore. We got busted. I pretend to understand only a few words of english but the guy was ok and he shows us the rest of the place. 2 noobs also were there, I suspect them to pay the guard for a touristic visit... is this exploring? Anyway I stayed as far as i could from the security. I took a mug for me and a plate for my future cat from this place. Very good quality explore.

At night we went to a massive pub to have our dinner and a few beers. I met there Turkey who came back from his own explore, a 1930 cinema. We decided to do the next day together.

Thursday 9 april

Next day we went to Coventry to see the River Sherbourne (?) with Turkey. It was a very nice walk throught the fresh water, even when one of my waiders started to fill... Crossing the city underground was very funny and pleasant. We found an object we still do not know the use (any news about this dweeb ?).

After that we made our way to London to meet OT & Paulo at Paulo's house. But first we had a beer & a walk in London. I like visiting european capital and London is a very nice city. We met Paulo in a pub and i was really happy to see him again, last time I met him was so long ago. Then we bought some beer and port to get drunk at his flat.

We were supposed to explore Battersea power station at 6 AM...
At 4 AM after one of my french friend has joined us and many beers, Paulo was not able to talk anymore and we all went to bed.

The story of my journey back home

I think useless to tell that we din't explore that power station, the awaking was hard enough and I had to take my bus from London to Dover at 12h30. After saying goodbye to all my very good english fellows i took the bus for Dover.

It stated there : the bus was late in Dover... I manage to take the next boat for Calais without spending more money. That was good because I had none :p. Arriving at Calais at 8PM I ran to the train station and I learned that the TGV/EUROSTAR station is in an other place.

"No problem" told me the controller "You can take a train from here an catch the last eurostar at 10PM".
Cheating the first train was easy, cheating the eurostar is impossible. I waited for it and I passed throught the control line, controller saw me and run after me in the train. Hidding myself in a container part of the train I waitted for 1/2h but got busted and thrown out of the train. But the train was 1/2h late in Paris and the passenger yelled at me... in english :D FAIL

Cops (gendarmes) arrived and I asked them for a place where I can hitchhiking. So, around 11PM I started next to the highway to ask if someone could take me back to Paris. One guy arrived and told me he was not going to Paris direction but he could leave me in a place where lots of truck drivers were heading to Paris. FAIL

This place was desert, one truck was there broke and the driver was only speaking russian. After 2 hours the tow truck arrived and took us both and let me to a gaz station where i spend the night hitchhiking. FAIL

Fianlly around 6AM one of the gaz station girl took me back to calais train station (not the TGV one...) and I finally arrived to Paris around 10AM. Then I took the tube to reach my place but i met the controllers. This was too much for me, i gave them a fake ID and went to sleep. WIN !

Sorry I have no pictures, I'm not very good at it.

Thank you so much to OT and to the king of industry to look after me during this epic week. Thanks also to Paulo and Turkey for the time spended together, I hope I see you soon in Paris for watever you plan to do. Cheers to Jo & miss dweeb :)