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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - April 8, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta Monday, April 0, 1974 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Old quarries worry Paris builders By ADRIAN DAEMON PARIS is like a Gruyere cheese. It has a crust of streets, buildings and monuments, but beneath them is an intricate labyrinth of catacombs, quarries, sew- ers, and subway and under- ground railway tunnels. The whole of the French capital's Left Bank stands on quarries and in one area it rests on catacombs where at least six million skeletons of Parisians lie. For centuries the presence of stone pits under Paris was a nightmare for builders who prayed they would not dig over caves, a city official said. Gustave Eiffel would have faced a difficult task trying to erect his famous tower in the centre of Paris. But the genial inventor was no doubt a clever man, aware that the safest place on which his work could stand was alongside the River Seine where the ground is firmer. To a lesser extent, the Right Bank is also pitted with quarries. In the 19th century the builders of the Sacre Coeur Church discovered that, once built, it was in danger of toppling from the Montmartre hill. The builders solved their problems in a modernistic way by filling the natural pits which impeded their work with concrete pillars to prop up the church. Built Paris Quarries were first ex- ploited in the second century by inhabitants of Lutetia, a small island from which Paris developed. "Everything went all right for many said the city official. "People could dig the quarries at ease and cut the stones which served to build Paris." But at the end of the 18th century, the exploitation of stone pits had to come to a halt. Some houses started to crumble and it became a tough job to shore up walls that threatened to collapse. The possibijity of a catastrophe is really negligible but the authorities do ,not discount isolated accidents. Some 10 years ago a house in the southwestern suburb of Clamart and a building at the edge of Paris collapsed, killing several people. "To avoid accidents we make regular visits to the tunnels and even privately- owned quarries are inspected thoroughly though, I must confess, it is the official said. "But we would waste too much time asking permission from their owners. "A building, even if built on firm ground, might collapse one of these days but this could happen in any capital of the world. So no one has to worry; Paris is safe." Intriguing The most intriguing part of the quarries are the catacombs. They lie under a former toll gate on the Place Denfert-Rochereau not far from Montparnasse. Catacombs were usually underground cemeteries built by persecuted Christians who wanted to preserve the burial-places of their dead during the period 100-300 AD. But here the story is different. The "Keep Paris Tidy" slogan was a topical issue in the 18th century. It started in 172S when people living near the Cemetery of the Innocents in central Paris complained that the paupers' graves adjoining it were a dangerous breeding ground for epidemics. After a battle of 60 years, the authorities agreed to destroy the cemetery but faced the problem of transferring the remains of more than one million persons. Finally, someone came up with the idea that part of the abandoned quarries would be an ideal resting- place. The transfer operation was so successful that the government, urged on by unscrupulous land developers, decided to destroy nearly alj cemeteries adjoining churches in the capital. The catacombs were opened to the public a century ago. Few visitors know that the remains of such .well- known characters in the history of France as Rabelais, Pascal, Montesquieu, Malherbe, the Marquise de Pompadour and Mirabeau lie anonymously among millions of skeletons. Sears pant coats, soft 'n' fleecy as a spring cloud.. Ypu'll love the cuddlesome look and feel of these great little toppers...the soft colorings that stem from the fleecy acrylic fabric. Shown here are only 3 of 5 available styles. All are wrap- fashioned with tie belts. Beautiful top stitching on collars, belts and pockets Fully lined with rayon. In popular 30" length. Dry-cln. Blue, camel or yellow Misses'sizes 8 to 18. Can. T.M. Ladies Coats X 1 MJMI If Simpsons-Sears Ltd. at Simpsons-Sears you get the finest guarantee satisfaction or morwy refunded and free delivery Store Hours: Open Daily a.m. to p.m. Thursday and Friday a.m. to p.m. Centre Village Mall. Telephone 326-9231 ;