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Report - The Underground Cinema, 16eme Arrondisement, Paris - 2009



tucker

Scallywag
Regular User
#1
Visited with OT, Dweeb & Urban Junky in autumn of last year as part of the Paris roadtrip. I had read about this particular place in The Guardian Articles, seen it talked about on an ITV show which featured a brief forray into underground paris.
The things i had heard, about CCTV systems guarding the place, and pre recorded sounds of Alsations to ward off any unwanted visitors, and the incident involving a cous cous maker and a terror plot, were bizarre to say the least. But no way near as bizarre as the night we were lucky enough to visit the refurbished cinema in its prime, what we saw so unexpectedly that night, i will never forget.

Re-wind to September, four pro-hobos sat on the steps of Theatre Nationale swigging heineken. We are waiting to meet our cataphile contact, Mr DirtySkeme and his friend Davide. Specifically, we are told to dress un-cataphile like for the night. No waders, excess baggage, no crap. Sounds sensible, like. And so we wait. Half Hour, 1 Hour, An Hour and a Half. Passing the time, we haggle with a street vendor for one of his flashy tour eiffels. He wanted 5 euros. We were prepared to pay 1. No deal. We then realise why he is there, and why there is hoardes of multi-national tourists bustling past. Eiffel tower is the other side of the wall behind us.

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Meh. Not what we came for anyway.

Time is getting on and we finally make contact with Dirty. A mixture of our French friends arriving fashionably late or our failure to find the right metro station, who knows. The usual meets and greets, and down to business. Pop the manhole, down as quickly and discreetly as possible, although there are six of us. We find ourselves in the telecom tunnels, the veins of the city. Dodging the metal brackets jutting out from every angle, kicking up dust, we must keep very quiet at this point. Ambling through a couple of crossroads and we are ready to crossover into the real souterrains de paris. No more concrete now, just the best cobbled limestone passages for us.

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Dirty leads the way, the trucks of his skateboard spin as it bounces of the wall repeatedly. This is a real labyrinth. It twists and turns at every given opportunity, changing direction all the time. We've still no clue as to whats in store, but when we start to see artificial lights hung on the wall ( and an emergency lighting system ffs!), minds start to wonder.
" Somebody is home tonight" says Dirtyskeme. Hmm. A couple of hundred metres or so later, and it all starts to make a sense. See a bright light, turn a corner and well...

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Welcome

Reality check needed. I am in the Underground Quarries of Paris, and have just walked into a pub with more people at the bar than my local. Go figure!

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When you're ready Barman!

For the next hour or so, i manage to seriously over-use the word 'surreal', but safe to way we are all gobsmacked. There are several themed areas, furnished with lots of ah-em, acquired ornaments, a dartboard, a proper surround sound system, Cinema complete with projector and stone auditorium style seating. Does this place get any better!?

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Game of Arrows, anyone?

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And you've got to keep the place tidy...

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Oh and feel free to take a seat...

We spend the rest of the evening at the bar (where else!) chatting to the cataphiles through broken english and french, and we cannot thank dirty enough for showing us this little gem. The time comes for the french guys to depart. " Lock up, turn off the lights when you leave, Bon Soir!" Visiting was something else, but we didnt imagine we'd be sleeping down here too!

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Le Hammock?

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Or the Chinatown suite?

I wake the next morning with a sore head.Too many desperado. The metro rumbles by and the lights now dim constantly. We can't make our exit til the evening until things have quietened down up top. We bide our time by eating some beans with a trowel, and exploring the rest of this intricate network, catching some zzzs, and not forgetting to turn out the lights before we leave ;)

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Thanks to : DirtySkeme, Davide, OT, Dweeb, Urban junky. Epic night!​
 

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