Les égouts des Paris

On the weekend we went down into the sewers of Paris. There’s an actual, official museum of the sewers of Paris, even though you wouldn’t believe it, looking at their website (That might not be an official page, though, maybe just a fan-site).

You could have explored all by yourself, just following the smell, but we had a souterrain guided tour of the sewers. I didn’t understand all of it, because there was too much unfamiliar vocabulary and too much background noise, but I could catch a few things

Sewers have to be cleaned or there is a buildup of sand and grease and unspeakable things. This would lead to blockage, which means water would back up onto the streets. Cleaning all of Paris sewers takes three years and when they are finished they start all over again.

If you drop your keys down a manhole in a small street, you can call the sewer department, give them the exact address and they can retrieve it for you. If it’s on a big street, the pool that collects rainwater and dog poop etc. (fourth picture below) is too big, but they offer this service completely free for the small side streets.

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