April 25, 2011

U for Underground in Paris

Oui oui oui... there are some tours that take place UNDER Paris...

The Parisian Sewer system dates back to the year 1370 when the first underground system was constructed under "rue Montmartre". Since then, consecutive French governments have enlarged the system to cover the city's population.

Until the Middle Ages, the drinking water in Paris was taken from the river Seine. The wastewater was poured onto fields or unpaved streets, and finally filtered back into the Seine.[1] Around 1200, Phillipe Auguste had the Parisian streets paved, incorporating a drain for waste water in their middle. In 1370 Hugues Aubriot, a Parisian provost had a vaulted, stone walled sewer built in the "rue Montmartre". This sewer collected the wastewater and took it to the "Ménilmontant" brook. However the wastewater was still drained in the open air.[2]

Under the reign of Louis XIV, a large ring sewer was built on the right bank, and the Biévre River was used as a sewer for the left bank of the Seine. On at least two occasions in the late 1700s, Paris refused to build an updated water system that scientists had studied. Women were actually carrying water from the river Seine to their residences in buckets. Voltaire wrote about it, saying that they "will not begrudge money for a Comic Opera, but will complain about building aqueducts worthy of Augustus". Louis Pasteur, himself lost three children to typhoid. Under Napoleon I, the first Parisian vaulted sewer network was built that was 30 km long.
In 1850, the prefect for the Seine Baron Haussmann and the engineer Eugéne Belgrand, designed the present Parisian sewer and water supply networks. Thus was built, more than a century ago, a double water supply network (one for drinking water and one for non drinking water) and a sewer network which was 600 km long in 1878.[3]


The Catacombs of Paris or Catacombes de Paris are a famous underground ossuary in Paris, France. Located south of the former city gate, the "Barrière d'Enfer", at today's Place Denfert-Rochereau), the ossuary holds the remains of about 6 million people[1] and fills a renovated section of caverns and tunnels that are the remains of Paris' stone mines. Opened in the late 18th century, the underground cemetery became a tourist attraction on a small scale from the early 19th century, and has been open to the public on a regular basis from 1867. Following an incident of vandalism, they were closed to the public in September 2009 and reopened 19 December of the same year. [2]

The official name for the catacombs is l'Ossuaire Municipal. Although this cemetery covers only a small section of underground tunnels comprising "les carrières de Paris" ("the quarries of Paris"), Parisians today often refer to the entire tunnel network as "the catacombs".


These tours are NOT pour moi... BUT my teen boys would LOVE them!!!  
The ONLY underground I wish to visit is the Metro!!! 

Be sure to visit other A to Z April Challenge participants ... and our other site Reading is Fashionable 
this week for MORE FUN in Paris and beyond!!!



martinealison said...

Une belle visite...

Laura said...

I'm so glad I found your blog! What a great post.

Cris, Artist in Oregon said...

Interesting but creepy too. :)) I wouldnt go down their either.

carolina @ patagonia gifts said...

great post, Fifi! thanks for sharing! I've been a terrible visitor too, don't worry! have a great new week! xo


Hi Fifi, very interesting post, I can picture my children wanting to visit the catacombs! Thank you for stopping by and visiting my blog. I hope you have a wonderful week!

Wanda said...

I'm with you I don't want to be underground.

Callie Grayson said...

I have actually toured the catacombs and it is kinda eery down there but it was great to see part of History.


Draffin Bears said...

Hi Fifi,

Yes, the Metro is for me too, but that is interesting all the same.
I have seen this on a documentary channel and that is the way I like it.
Hope that you had a lovely Easter and have a great week


A Lady's Life said...

In Montreal they began with the metro and then they began constructing an under ground world with the hug buildings still standing on top on the street.

Once we went there and there was a concern that the big buildings on top were too heavy and could fall down into the under ground areas which is always packed with people.
We used to see so many people walking on St Catherine street and now the street is empty because everything is under ground.
Its good in winter when its cold outside but the prospect of the whole thing collapsing one day, is not enlightening. Montreal is a dead volcano but if it wakes up one day???

Nikki said...

I've been considering taking my Husband when we're there in September. I told him I was going to plan it like I was planning a trip for a kid ;)


oh, this is so very interestin...who know! Thank you so much for sharing this with, although, it's scary and creepy too! I hope you had a nice Easter.
Thanks so much for your visit and for the nice and generous comments!

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