The Heart of Darkness – our Paris Basement


Steven King and Conrad should spend some time in our basement – or cave – as they’re called in French. Paris basements are very creepy places. First, of all, there are usually rats – although I have yet to see one in ours – everyone says that they are there. Since we’ve lived here, I have only visited the basement about four times at most. The first day we visited the basement was with the former owner who showed us our storage area. First you unlock a gate which looks like a cage door. Then you walk down stone steps. All along the earthen floor, cardboard box covers line the alleyway. (maybe so you don’t track mud back up to the RdeC) the walls are stone or brick that look like they go back to the days of the Paris Catacombs. You can hear the Metro rumble by at some lower level. At the end of the corridor, there is an arched door which has been closed in with a piece of wood. For a while this door used to be open. There were steps that led to someplace else . . . I think maybe the Paris sewers, but then it could have been the catacombs. We’re not very far from Denfert Rochereau, where the catacombs. One thing is certain, in Paris, everything is connected one way or another underground. I’ve never wanted to go past that door (even when it was open) because anything on the other side would probably be damp and musty.
It’s more fun imagining where the door may lead.
But the reason I’m writing about Paris cellars is for a much more practical reason. After ten years, we received a letter from the apartment managers who have been very busy tracking down leaks since we left several weeks ago. This is the letter that I received. “We think you may have a leak in your storage area in the basement Unit #9”.
Before we left the apartment building, we had discovered a leak in the basement in a completely different area of the basement, so suddenly the storage area that the former owner had given to us and that we assumed we had purchased with our apartment, may not necessarily be the same storage area that the apartment management believes we own. So, if you are EVER thinking about buying an apartment in Paris, you might want to make sure that the storage unit you think you own is in fact the storage unit you have purchased.
I hope whatever happens regarding this mix-up, I won’t have to spend too much time in the basement.

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