Paris is known as the City of Lights with its glittering face that the whole world is familiar with. However, there is yet another face to it that is hidden beneath the ground. There are several constructions built centuries ago to fulfill all kinds of purposes. With the passage of time, these structures became derelict and abandoned. However, visiting these places can still make you feel the energy of the times gone by. Below are some of the lesser known spots of Paris.
Hidden Metro Stations
Paris Underground metro is one of the most frequented places in the French capital city. It has a ridership of 4.16 million. There are over 300 metro stations spread out over the city. However, there are several stations, which have been abandoned. These stations can still be visited. They still preserve some of the relics from the past.
Porte des Lilas is one of the most visited hidden metro stations. It has featured in several movies too. Similarly, the Saint-Martin metro station is known for preserving the glorious past of the place. This station has a sizeable collection of ceramic decoration of the thirties. The panels here feature advertisements from that era.
Les Carrières Des Capucins
There are several places other than the catacombs of Paris, which possess the air of the old days. One of the best examples is the Carrières des Capucins. This is an 18th Century limestone quarry, located beneath the 13th, 14th, and 15th arrondissement of the French Capital. It is preserved and maintained as a museum by a non-profit organization. You can visit the place to join their torchlight tours.
The city’s industrial tradition is well preserved in the place. In fact, it unravels the lesser-known corners of the city that were very important in the past. The streets reveal a completely different story from the present day Paris.
The Catacombs of Paris
Paris Catacombs are one of the most famous hidden spots of the city. This comprises of quarries that were later converted to the place where all the bones from the filled up cemeteries of Paris were brought and stored. The place is particularly popular for its spooky nature. The entrance itself translates to, “Stop, Here It’s the Empire of Death”.
The patterns formed by the skeletons are intriguing to watch though. That is why the Catacombs is one of the most visited places in private tours Paris; hence, there is always a long queue before the entrance.
Roman Lutetia’s Sewer System
Paris Lutetia was the Roman city, which was the initial name of Paris. This is located in the Cluny Museum in the 5th Arrondissement. However, the question remained as to how they brought water from the Seine River to the public baths. The answer lied in the underground sewer system below the Roman baths. You can visit these underground chambers and the galleries only during the Paris guided tours. It is yet another preserved gem from the elusive history of Paris.
Paris Sewer Museum
Although this may sound odd, it is a nice place to experience the bygone era of the French capital city. The Paris Sewer Museum features about 500 m of tunnel distance that has exhibits explaining the history of sewage system of Paris. Besides, the museum also explains in detail the sewer workers’ role as well as the water treatment methods.
La Maison Du Fontainier
During the 18th Century, King Henry IV of France ordered the construction of an aqueduct to ensure the supply of water to the left bank of Paris. It was 13 kilometers long and was accessed through 27 different chambers. The 27th one was known as Grand regard de l’Observatoire. Above this, there was also the house for the Intendant General of the Waters and Fountains of the King.
The grounds of these houses were divided into three halls. Each one was its own distribution pool. The King’s pool was the biggest one. There was a second one for the religious members, and the final one for the common people, which was the smallest. The place can be visited on an interesting Paris guided tour. The point where you cross from the old distribution pools into the tank-hall is one of the most interesting parts of the tour.
Le Regard De La Lanterne
There are 18 regards or inspection chambers in existence today, but only 8 of them are visible. The le Regard de la Lanterne is the most attractive of them all. It is a cylindrical stone building, which was built during the 16th and 17th Century. It served the purpose of the inspection chamber for the Belleville aqueduct, which brought water to Paris from the right bank. Although the place is not functional anymore, it continues to receive water from the Belleville water table.