The Paris You Don’t See

15 May 2013                    

Not many would see it, but Paris’ sewer system is a labyrinth that runs underneath almost every road in Paris.

Writing about the Deep Tunnel Sewerage System (DTSS) a while back gave me an idea. Our DTSS is a unique system, possibly being the only one of its kind. So what are the sewer systems in other cities like? Unfortunately, a quick search doesn’t bring up many relevant results because no one else seems to have thoughts as strange as mine. Good news though, is that Paris is home to arguably the world’s most famous sewer system. So famous that there is a museum about the sewer, in the sewer!

Paris’ sewers, unlike ours, follow the streets above almost exactly. If you’re on the Champs-Élysées, you can bet that there’d be a sewer, as wide as the road, running underneath it. Likewise, a small alleyway would also have a small sewer below it.

Tours are made more possible in the Parisian sewers because just like the streets above, the sewers also have small walkways that made it easier for maintenance crew to do any works that might be necessary.

The tours, which stretch across over one mile of Parisian sewers, are conducted by Les Egoûts de Paris. I haven’t been lucky/brave/foolish enough to go there myself, but from the experiences shared by others, it’s an interesting and unsurprisingly stinky experience. The exhibits, which feature real machines, are said to be good, and it seems rather affordable. Plus, you don’t have to touch anything but the floor during this walking tour, but please sanitise your hands and take a thorough bath afterwards because it is, after all, an actual sewer with actual waste.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could take a tour of the DTSS? Water lovers out there, does that sound like a good idea to you?

By Jax Sparrow


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