In every city there are places whose existence is only known to a tiny bunch of people and often those who know about them rather not venture there. To get there you have to go through fences, holes, and when you finally arrive, you can never know what will you find on the other side. Not to mention that you might be risking a fine.
In Paris, one such place is a deserted railway, a so-called "Petite Ceinture" - a 32-kilometer stretch of railway track that encircles the entire city. You can come across those forgotten rails in the Buttes Chaumont park, they are intersecting the canal d'Ourcq, finally you can stumble upon them in the park Montsouris which is an excellent location, especially for photographers, as it offers a wide view on the mysterious tracks.
Some parts of those tracks are being managed by the city authorities. Some excellent green spaces have been created there (like at Porte de Versailles), as well as interesting meeting places (like La Recyclerie in the northern part of the city). However, a significant part of the tracks is still as deserted and hard to reach as many years ago.
Luckily, everything's possible if you only try hard enough ;) and so I had the chance to explore those forgotten rails already twice!
Going down on the tracks is almost like a tripping to another dimension. Picture yourself being in the center of the city, yet you can hardly hear any traffic, it's so quiet and everywhere around you the abundant, jungle-kind-of vegetation. All the difficulties to get there are fully rewarded by the incredible atmosphere of this abandoned place, located in the heart of Paris.
Beautiful autumn colors and incredibly lush vegetation - I hadn't even realized how much I missed this place.
And that unique taste of the mystery, long, pitch-black tunnels and somewhere in the middle of on of them, the hidden, secret entrance to the Paris Catacombs, which is also the limit of my courage...