Exploring sewers in different countries, you tend to notice little differences. The sewage networks of Paris and London, although serving the same function, to me, couldn’t be more apart. On one hand, you have London. Joseph Bazalgette, photogenic brick tunnels, culverted rivers and the interceptors that serve them. The essence of Victorian over- engineering and pride visible in every tunnel. Contrary to that, the parisian network feels somewhat empty. Cold, emotionless concrete under every manhole. A mess of tunnels and pipes darting in every direction. A network built to serve its function and nothing more. Bland, yet rewarding the visitor with an alternate experience.
London’s main downfall is the lack of navigational challenge, its layout too simple, most sections consisting of only one or two walkable tunnels. The parisian network, isn’t. Give a child some paper and a set of multi-colour crayons, the resulting image would be similar to its sewer map. Adventure in Paris rests, not in taking photographs, but by traversing the city, getting lost under it, truly experiencing it, finding routes and discovering crossover’s to other sections of its infrastructure.