Paris Underground By Caroline Archer with photos by Alexandre Parre is a book I wish had been published before my most recent trip to Paris, France. Little known to the average citizen of or visitor to Paris, the city was built over the quarries from which stone for the buildings was cut. As the city grew, so did the caverns beneath it until on one fateful day during the reign of King Louis XVI on Dec. 17, 1774, an entire street (near today's Place Denfert-Rochereau )collapsed into the abyss. The King's council to investigate was formed and the finding were so alarming that within three years architects and inspectors set about building reinforcements in the form of inspection galleries, which ultimately (by the mid 1930's) resulted in 177 miles of underground tunnels within these quarries to make the city safe. Although entering these underground passages is forbidden except with express permission, for three centuries artists, musicians, writers, performers, and curious, daring cataphyles have found the lure into the depths irresistable and have made their way through clandestined passages. Through the centuries, because everyone needed to mark his or her way in order not to be lost, and because the bare walls beckoned to be decorated, the passages and quarries became an underground, daring art gallery. This book incorporates a remarkable attempt to catalogue the surreptitious art found beneath one of Europe's most thriving cities of the arts. The historic events, since the earliest graffiti in 1671, have been charted or commemorated, pictured, or commented upon, with drawings, writings, paintings, sculpture, and music created within the labyrinth. While most is primitive art "just for the fun of it," some is quite skilled and reveals great talent. For three centuries the underground has been the location for secret love affairs, hiding criminals, storing beer and champagne, and many other illegal activities, while also providing the stone canvas and dark inspiration for hundreds of artists and performers of all kinds. You'll want to read and study the photographs in this fascinating book.