GES068 - Fort De Vaujours Near Paris, France
After a second late night of shenanigans, this time with Claire Elise on board. As top French Explorer stud, GE099 can't explore without an attractive woman in tow. The wig and heels didn't suit me, so it was down to GE005, who for reasons that are private, is also called George!
France, a country not unused to being invaded, suffered at the hands of the Prussians in the 1870s, and built a circle of 18 Forts around Paris. Construction started in 1876 on a roughly pentagonal fort with 48 artillery pieces and a garrison of 691 troops. Work was completed in 1882. The fort was updated in 1911 with a machine gun turret and a Mougin turret with two 155mm guns. The Fort de V is unique in its association with two annexes connected by a covered way to the main fort.
The fort's barracks were burned in 1944. In 1947 the Sevran explosives works used the facility. From 1955 the site was occupied by the CEA (Atomic and Alternative Energies Commission) as a research center, which considerably modified the fort and its environs. The CEA conducted pyrotechnic experiments at the location, using shock tubes and similar apparatus to study high-pressure shock waves in uranium. The Vaujours facility closed in 1997. The CEA proposed to sell the property, but concerns about radioactive contamination have stalled the sale. (erm GE099, about this last sentence...?!?) Source: Wikipedia
GE099, in his role as magical mystery tour leader for my time staying with him, said we would have a BBQ at an explore. And along with George we trundled off to the local supermarket and stocked up on supplies. Bread, meat, booze, meat and water. It was then back to fill up the GE099-mobile (aka Twinky), and head off into the warm French sunshine. We passed Le Defense and the attractive houses and river frontage of the Seine as we headed out of town. GE099 pointing out the sadly no more Pink Power Station. A legend of it's time and stories of yore, involving large dogs.
We pulled up on a grassy verge next to the universal high mesh fence with barbed wire topping. All the bags and stuff needed for the event were shared out, and we strolled off around the site until GE099 disappeared between some trees and we followed.
We emerged next to some worn out barrack like buildings, with distinctive red blinds in nearly all the windows. We walked through the site, coming to a tall tower, we decided to climb later. We plodded on and walked through to the entrance of the fort itself.
bearing right at the other end of the tunnel, we ended up at a solid concrete structure with a large blast wall to one side. At the end was a set of small iron girders, arranged to hold explosives in the middle. GE099 sets up his BBQ and becomes world reknown 'Chef de explorer supreme.'
Meanwhile, George set about skipping & frolicking around natures bounty, and looking at the pretty flowers and picking some blackberries for dessert.
I then set off to explore the base, while GE099 & George chatted in the strange coded language they had been talking in most of the trip. I walked off and managed to find myself a small pillbox. The other of side of which there was a steep slope and large open area. I saw what looked like a tree pushed over to form a bridge. It was perfect to shuffle along and grab a shot. As I got to the middle I heard an unpleasant cracking sound. Merde! Below me was an 8m drop to a stagnant pool of water. I managed to get back to terra firma, but still needed that shot. So I went out again, and precariously took the shot from less further out.
Having cheated death quite enough for one day, I went back to the main path inside the fort. There were lots of concrete blocks with tunnels disappearing through them at an angle, that would via a side door, come out the back of the block. This being a front door to one of the blocks.
Further along there was a different building, still with a blast door in-tact. The whole place has laid empty for years and metal thieves have done a good job. Most of the blast doors, manhole covers and service pipes have been stripped and removed. Inside the door was just an empty room.
In the next block, after walking down one of the long corridors, I took some side stairs, and found a large round rusting iron piece. Sadly I have no idea what it's for.
One of the many corridor tunnels that go through the middle of the various blocks.
After quick mooches around a few more blocks, I walked out to the entrance of the Fort, where a kids quad bike proved too tempting to resist.
Outside the fort, it was possible to see either a moat, flooded ditch, or nice ornamental pond to distract your invading Prussians while you blow their heads off.
There was a nice seat left outside of the fort, so I welcomed a brief rest.
In the middle of an open area, appeared to be some sort of gatehouse remnant.
Into the main area outside the fort, some storage or vehicle sheds.
The place was full of inviting holes to fall down, and GE099 mentioned that this is what happened to one poor woman on a previous trip. Metal thieves had swiped pretty much all the lids.
An open garage area
A lot of the buildings were pretty trashed, this was a typical scene.
Again, the metal lid stolen from a service tunnel shaft in a building.
I then came to the barracks area, lots of 2 storey buildings with rooms for the soldiers and staff. All came with the red blinds.
Inside the red blinds gave a strong red light, turning the landing into something one might expect in a brothel.
Finally I came to the tower, mostly used for communication ariels i'm guessing, especially as it still had one on the top.
Inside was a precarious looking set of ladders, leading up to the top. It was a warm evening, but inside the concrete tower, it was like a sauna. It wasn't long before I was becoming a sweaty mess.
Popping out the top, the late afternoon sun shone beautifully over the lovely French countryside. The last tall building to the right of centre, is the Eiffel Tower.
A view over the top of the tower and down to the base.
My mobile fired off while I was admiring the view, it was dinner time. Perfect timing Mr. Chef.
I trotted back over and engaged in devouring some wonderfully cooked kebabs and spicey sausages. As well as some French lager. Sadly Real Ale isn't very common in French supermarkets.
Our bellies full, we packed up and carried everything to the fort entrance, and left our the stuff in a room. GE099 then took us off to see some bits in the Fort i'd clearly missed. He also divulged some history. He showed us a number of rooms with wooden padding, and thick plate glass screens. Here controlled explosions were ca rried out.
After a bit of searching around, an innocent looking doorway lead into what GE099 was after, a huge hanger like building. I tried a few times to photograph it, and eventually we did a group shot.
From here we climbed up onto a roof and admired the stars and reflected on many different issues. The main one being that English food is the best in the world, and all agreed!
Many thanks to GE099 for organising this, and to the lovely GE005 for great company.