In the tunnel of the new metro line 14, on the way to Orly

A big surprise is hidden behind the fence. Opposite the bakery, between an HLM bar and a row of small houses, a chasm. A chasm in the middle of the city. It takes a few minutes to tame its dimensions, they are so striking. The rectangular hole occupies an entire esplanade. Its shape evokes a sort of swimming pool for giants. Unless it is the entrance to the mines of Moria …

The future L’Haÿ-les-Roses station (Val-de-Marne), November 26, 2020 (Yannick Stephant)

The spiral staircase takes us 23 meters lower – the equivalent of a six-story building. This is where the platforms for a new Paris metro line 14 station will be located, in L’Ha à-les-Roses (Val-de-Marne). Because the extension of this line is not limited to the four new stops inaugurated this Monday, December 14 north of Paris. At the other end, it continues its route south, towards Orly. It will connect the airport to the capital in twenty minutes by 2024. But first, we must dig.

This is Claire’s mission, which we discover underground, after having gone 300 meters into the tunnel, far from the light of day. Claire weighs 1,300 tonnes, it’s the tunnel boring machine. Its circular mouth 9 meters in diameter nibbles the land, day and night. Why this first name? “Underground tradition wants all tunnel boring machines to be named in homage to Saint Barbara, the protector of minors”, explains Sébastien Pichon, the head of p

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