On August 23, 2004, they discovered a cinema 60 feet beneath Paris. The sun was shining on the Trocadéro, the Eiffel Tower gleamed across the Seine, and deep belowground, police came across a sign. The officers were on a training mission, exploring the 4.3 miles of catacombs that twist beneath the 16 th arrondissement. The former quarries are centuries-old, illegal to enter, and the sign at the mouth of the tunnel read, “No public entry.” Police are not the public; they entered. … They found 3,000 square feet of subterranean galleries, strung with lights, wired for phones, live with pirated electricity. The officers uncovered a bar, lounge, workshop, dining corner and small screening area. The cinema’s seats had been carved into the stone itself, with room for 20 people to sit in the cool and chomp on popcorn.
Get the Longreads Weekly Email
Success! You're on the list.
Whoops! There was an error and we couldn't process your subscription. Please reload the page and try again.