In an age where the world has seemingly been explored thoroughly, it might seem like there's little left to discover, few adventures to be had. But some of the most interesting adventures might lay beneath your very feet. A few youngsters found their adventures in Paris by exploring the Metro system, breaking in late at night, to discover abandoned stations, disused tunnels, obsolete trains, and a dangerous underground labyrinth with a life of its own.
Over a period of several years, they explored the abandoned parts of the network.
Sometime in October 2007 a few hours after midnight and before the first trains rolled into regular service, qx and I took our first timid steps onto the tracks of the Paris metro. With more nervousness and care than I'd like to admit we gingerly stepped down between the metal rails just off the end of a platform wondering what madness had possessed us to do so. We'd never done Metro like this before and this scary new world was full of elements we didn't understand at all. Looking at every rail critically working out which carried the power, asking ourselves so many questions: how far could the electricity arc, would that even happen, could the cameras on the platform see us, did security wait in the tunnels after hours, were there any trains after service, if so how fast did they go, did anyone live in the tunnels, would we encounter writers? We'd heard lots of stories about RATP security forgoing the usual legal punishments and simply beating up those found in the tunnels and kicking them out onto the street. We weren't packing paint but would that really make a difference?
It's illegal to trespass in the Metro, of course, but they weren't there to vandalize. Instead, they took some breathtakingly beautiful photographs (click through to see more):
In a similar vein, a group of lads in London explored an entire underground line London's Tube system. The Post Office Railway transported mail under London's streets between Paddington and Whitechapel for 75 years before being abandoned in 2003. It was unknown outside of a few at the Royal Mail until this year, when a small group of lads discovered a hidden entrance and explored the 7-mile track and back again in one night (there was only one usable entrance/exit). They documented their adventure with photographs of disused stations (some in still-active sorting offices) with a great story and fascinating photos, like this one: