Secret Room In “Catacombes de Paris”

Back in 2004, Parisian police got a curious assignment – they were sent into the uncharted depths of the catacombs beneath the Palais de Chaillot, a part of Paris that had never been explored before. They entered through a drain and immediately spotted a sign that said “Building site, no access.” As they ventured further, they stumbled upon a camera snapping photos of passersby. Strangely, the camera started playing recordings of barking dogs as the officers approached.

Venturing deeper, they encountered a massive cavern, around 500 square meters in size, which turned out to be a theater complete with all the gear. It had a large screen, projectors, seats – everything you’d find in a movie theater. But this was underground! And that wasn’t all. They discovered a fully-stocked bar and restaurant in the next “room,” furnished with tables, chairs, and all the restaurant trimmings. What really had them scratching their heads were the functioning electricity and three active phone lines.

After three days, experts returned to investigate the source of the power. They found a message saying “Do not try to find us” on the ground, and the wires had been cut.

Since Roman times, quarries have dotted the outskirts of Paris. The limestone from these quarries built the city we know today. These tunnels stretch for over 300 kilometers (about 200 miles).

Although a small part of this underground maze is open to the public – known as the Denfert-Rochereau Ossuary or simply “The Catacombs” – most of it isn’t accessible. The popular Catacombs section is home to the remains of around six to seven million Parisians.

Back in the late 18th century, overcrowded cemeteries were causing problems, from unsanitary conditions to disease outbreaks. Between 1787 and 1814, an operation moved bones to the repaired tunnel section, including possibly those of well-known figures like Charles Perrault and Jean de La Fontaine.

The Catacombs quickly became a tourist attraction, first for the elite and eventually for the public in 1867. While some parts are off-limits due to their fragility, the vast network is still intriguing to adventurers, including robbers, artists, and curious souls.

In the 1980s, a movement sprang up to explore the tunnels. When a secret movie theater was discovered, photographer Patrick Alk from the group involved noted it was “a shame, but not the end of the world.” He shared that there are many similar spots in the labyrinth, hinting at the mysterious depths that remain largely uncharted.

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