Under the City of Love

Everyone knows the streets of Paris – the city of love and romance. Do you know what is underneath it? Have you ever been curious to know? Don’t worry, even most of the Parisians are not aware of it! But here is your chance to start at least reading about it. In the February 2011 issue of National Geographic magazine, which is on newsstands now, you can find an amazing article along with great photos. I got exclusive photos and an excerpt from the article to share with you.

“Behind the neat stacks of skulls, tibias, and femurs in the Paris catacombs lies chaos of bones. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the city dug up millions of skeletons from over-flowing cemeteries and poured them at night into old quarries.”

“…Paris has a deeper and stranger connection to its underground than almost any city, and that underground is one of the richest. The arteries and intestines of Paris, the hundreds of miles of tunnels that make up some of the oldest and densest subway and sewer networks in the world, are just the start of it. Under Paris there are spaces of all kinds: canals and reservoirs, crypts and bank vaults, wine cellars transformed into nightclubs and galleries. Most surprising of all are the carrières—the old limestone quarries that fan out in a deep and intricate web under many neighborhoods, mostly in the southern part of the metropolis…” excerpt from Paris Catacombs. Click here for the rest of the article.

“In a sandy chamber known as the “beach,” a wave rolls across a wall painted (and repainted) by cataphiles in the style of Japanese printmaker Hokusai. Such works can take hundreds of hours—the painting but also the carrying in of supplies.”

I will check it out on my next trip to Paris and share more information with you.

Photos by © Stephen Alvarez/National Geographic

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