I think I won’t become a ‘cataphile’ but I’m attracted by this parisian underground world and the concept of walking 25m below a world class city in a huge network of corridors.
It’s actually not so easy to meet cataphile people but once you’ve done it, you’ll be surprised by the kindness and willingness to share their trips. In this case, I linked up with people met on the previous trip and who sent me to meet other people going down on a friday night. Starting point was again in the very center of Paris and the entrance was the usual sneak hole I’m now familiar with.
As you might experience it if you try a trip down there, this is definitely a concept in itself these sneak holes. As all official access points have been closed or injected with concrete, you get there always bt crawling through some hole that gives you access to the network. Most part of the time, the holes are easy to get through, but some are definitely narrow and the concept of standing in front of one of these through which you obviously might not get through could be panicking for some people. There was one I thought I wouldn’t pass but 2 friends pulled me through when I engaged myself arms forward. A somewhat tense moment as the idea of walking back kilometers of watered low ceiling areas was not an enjoyable perspective.
Anyway, this time we were covering the western part of the GRS and criss crossing under the cemetery of Montparnasse. Passing from rooms to others, we even visited an old german bunker.
I took a chance here to shoot more people this time than doing Light Painting as the areas were very narrow. Different subject but very interesting. The team I went down with was pretty young but already expert in these underground matters. They were happy to be pictured and I covered a more underground life topic here.
Something many people don’t know is the fact that the cataphile community not only digs holes but also makes art down there. Some completely rearrange a room like the Excalibur room where a sword is planted into a small rock island surrounded by water, others construct castles & cities as miniatures right out of the chalk stone. Very impressive I must say.
The exit was tough to reach actually. No pictures here as we had to walk something like 200m with a ceiling at 1m40 and 60cm of water. Then another 2-300m dry but even lower awaited us. When this happens at the end of the night around 4:30am, you’re quite exhausted. Especially when it ends with a sneak hole like mentioned above : pretty narrow & hard to get through. But the best is emerging in the middle of the street, people watching you astonished and all the team rushing out to avoid getting caught by Police.
Finally a rest before catching the 1rst Métro at 5:30 and we call the night off.
Nice trip, nice people, nice pics, I loved it.
PS : Paris is interesting when you get home early…God knows how much that lady must have drunken.