At No. 18, Rue de Paridis, close to the Gare de L’Est is a house of horrors that’s popular with Parisians and visitors alike. Le Manoir de Paris is a theatrical show that’s very unusual.
If you want a very different sort of Paris experience from the classic Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Louvre type of visit, this will certainly fit the bill. And it’s great for families with teens, though maybe not for really young children says Bob Lyons.
Your first indication that this is a bit of a different tour from the rest is when you’re greeted by a man in a straitjacket, frothing at the mouth! Enter the Paris “house of horrors” and it gets stranger yet. The rooms are quite dark, there are strange noises, blood-curdling howls and visitors squeal and scream. Not surprising when there are people leaping out right in front of you, dressed in old fashioned costumes, sporting hair-raising make up, some with fangs, others with spooky masks.
The actors aim to scare the living daylights out of everyone. And once you’re in, there’s no going back, it’s one way in and one way out.
Children will mostly likely love the spine chilling thrills, the drama, the theatricality, though note Le Manoir de Paris doesn’t recommend shows to kids under the age of ten.
Located in an old listed building which was once the HQ of a tile company, the theatre presents various shows featuring more than 30 actors. The programme changes daily. You might find yourself in the Parisian sewers, in the Catacombs, in the underground tunnels of the metro of the famous Pere-Lachaise cemetery. You may meet The Phantom of the Opera or Quasimodo or various other Paris legends.
The show takes place over two floors and got progressively scarier as we went on. I was told that pregnant women and those with a known heart disorder shouldn’t join in! And beware if you are claustrophobic. You’re sent around in groups of 4, and the staff try to ensure that you’re with a group that speaks your language if you’re not French.
At the end, the actors, having scared the living daylights out of you, now greet you as friends. With their costumes and make up intact, it’s a good humoured way to end the show. I heard a child tell them that they were frightened – but it was their third visit!
Photography inside is not permitted hence the lack of illustration in this article.
It’s enormous fun, very different and a true Parisian experience – if you like to get the shivers, you’ll love this!
Bob Lyons is an ex pilot turned travel writer and total Francophile