A Crocodile in the Paris Sewers

A strange but true story

Reality is sometimes stranger than fiction. Have you ever heard the story of the crocodiles found in the sewers of Paris? During the floods of 2016, many reported that crocodiles had escaped from the zoo and had made their way into the sewers of Paris. The rumor turned out to be a hoax. But the scenario described wasn’t completely invented.

In 1984, the city’s fire department was called when a 1-meter-long crocodile was found in the Paris sewers. Experts determined that the crocodile was roughly two years old, that it had been in the sewers for around two months and that it came from the Nile River in Egypt!

Nile crocodiles can live for up to 100 years!


No one knows how the crocodile ended up in the sewers of Paris. Since then, Eleanor (as the crocodile was later named) has grown to about 3 meters in size. Her new living space at the public aquarium in Vanves is a replica of the Paris sewer system. Eleanor will have plenty of time to explore her new home. Nile crocodiles live an average 75-100 years.

A Hidden City

Over the years, the sewers of Paris have become a tourist attraction in their own right. Boat tours of the Paris sewer were offered as early as the 1800s and an official Paris Sewer Museum opened in 1988. Today, the museum welcomes thousands of visitors per year.

Paris sanitation workers in the early 20th century.


The sewer system has created is a hidden city beneath the streets of Paris. As Victor Hugo described in Les Miserables: "...Paris has another Paris under herself; a Paris of sewers; which has its streets, its crossings, its squares, its blind alleys, its arteries, and its circulation, which is slime, minus the human form." Who knows what else could be hiding under the streets of Paris?

     Want to learn more interesting Paris stories and anecdotes while exploring the city?


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