Paris is a city that knows how to make full use of its underground spaces, whether repurposing quarries into catacombs, hosting nightclubs like Showcase under bridges, or cleverly hiding tour buses inside the banks of the Seine so that they don’t mar the vista.
Le Maine Jaune, a legendary underground roller skating rink that was open from 1979-2003, is another one of these examples. It’s actually created from the excavation for parking (which goes three levels below). Le Main Jaune was the first nightclub dedicated to roller skating in Paris, and was featured in the Sophie Marceau film, La Boum.
The rink level also contains a bowling alley, that still exists. After closing, La Main Jaune was taken over by “Le Collectif La Main,” a group of of artists in 2011, but they have been asked to vacate by September 4th, 2013 on the basis of safety concerns (and that it had reportedly become an artist squat as well). According to Le Parisien, the executive office of urbanism in Paris stated that “the fire constraints make it impossible to hold a large number of people. But the place could be transformed into a gym for example.”
In February of this year, La Main Jaune was opened for Paris face cachée, a weekend of official exploration of off-the-beaten track Paris–perhaps the national attention was what has caused its eviction. Regardless of the closure of this legendary space La Main Jaune, Le Collectif La Main will continue its mission in a new location in Paris, a former bathhouse the 15th arrondisement, supported by the city of Paris.
We recently reported on two unique public art installations in the west of Paris at Porte Champerret, reminiscent of Angkor Wat and Mayan temples. One of the sculptures was a secondary entrance to La Main Jaune.
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Michelle is the founder of Untapped New York. She is the author of Secret Brooklyn: An Unusual Guide, New York: Hidden Bars & Restaurants, and Broadway. She is a graduate of Harvard College in the History of Art and Architecture and holds a master’s degree in urban planning from Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, where she is an Adjunct Professor of Architecture.