Members of the force's sports squad, responsible --- among other tasks --- for policing the 170 miles of tunnels, caves, galleries and catacombs that underlie large parts of Paris, stumbled on the complex while on a training exercise beneath the Palais de Chaillot, across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower.Who says the French aren't cool?
After entering the network through a drain next to the Trocadero, the officers came across a tarpaulin marked: Building site, No access.
Behind that, a tunnel held a desk and a closed-circuit TV camera set to automatically record images of anyone passing. The mechanism also triggered a tape of dogs barking, "clearly designed to frighten people off," the spokesman said.
Further along, the tunnel opened into a vast 400 sq metre cave some 18m underground, "like an underground amphitheatre, with terraces cut into the rock and chairs".
There the police found a full-sized cinema screen, projection equipment, and tapes of a wide variety of films, including 1950s film noir classics and more recent thrillers.
09 September 2004
A Secret Correspondent of mine passed on this item which proves that sometimes, as Warren Ellis says, the world is better than advertised.