Exploring Paris from The Angel of Darkness
Josh Clayton is a travel enthusiast, gamer, and writer, who started playing Tomb Raider with his mum back in 1997, and has been continually inspired to visit the franchise’s locations in real life – from the canals of Venice to the pyramids of Giza to the front door of Angkor Wat. He blogs (when he has time) about Tomb Raider, travel, and more at aworldonapage.wordpress.com.
When Lara Croft finds herself in Paris the city is quiet and free of traffic and tourists – unlike in real-life. But the locations in the game are not completely unfaithful, and, sleeping in derelict metro cars aside, you might be surprised how well the average tourist can retrace Lara’s footsteps from the early levels of Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness.
Backstreets, Ghettos and Rooftops
The opening levels feature a huge range of Parisian architecture, and a great way to see a lot at once is by taking take a stroll down Rue Mouffetard, Paris’ oldest street. Starting at Fontaine Guy L’Artige, head north past Saint-Médard’s church, whose flying buttresses offer a striking resemblance to St. Aicards. Finish at the Place de la Contrascarpe, a beautiful plaza surrounded by cafes that could be home to the Cafe Metro if it weren’t so well-kept. Continue north via backstreets to the Le Quarante-Trois rooftop bar to enjoy the Hausmann architecture that has become a Parisian icon while plotting a Lara-esque rooftop getaway.
Take the metro to Censier-Daubenton, a 3-minute walk from the start point of Fontaine Guy L’artige.
Under the streets of Paris
If you thought that the Paris storm drains were off-limits for this trip, you were wrong. The Musée des Égouts (Sewer Museum) is our next stop, taking us deep into a network of tunnels that mirror the streets above. Each sewer ‘street’ has its own blue and white enamel sign, and each building’s outflow is identified by its real street number. The museum lets you explore part of this network, either self-guided or with one of the museum agents. You’ll see more than a few familiar features on the tour, but please do not swim in the water – Lara might be immune to bacterial infections, but you aren’t.
Take the metro to Alma-Marceau and walk from there. Pre-book your time slot at the museum online.
The Louvre Galleries
The Musée du Louvre contains more than 380,000 objects and over 35,000 works of art. Apparently, the location team spent so much time in the museum that security genuinely questioned them over whether they were planning to rob it! Their time here shows through, particularly in the Sully and Denon wings of the Museum, where skylit corridors, high archways, granite walls and more than a few pieces of Hellenic art are immediately recognisable in the game. Of course, you’ll see the Mona Lisa, but you should also visit the Wedding Feast at Cana, by Paolo Veronese, which features in the game too.
Louvre Rivoli and Palais Royal Musée du Louvre are the closest metro stations. Book your time slot online on the Louvre’s website – lines can get extremely long otherwise.
Sadly, there is no massive archaeological excavation under the Louvre, however, there are the Paris catacombs. While this location features in TR3: The Lost Artefact and not in the Angel of Darkness, you get skeletons, underground caverns, creepy vibes, and really interesting archaeology, so it is a worthy finish to your Lara-esque adventures in Paris. The honeycomb of tunnels that make up the catacombs have been there for centuries, but in the 18th century, as cemeteries filled up inside the city, a portion of the tunnels was turned into an ossuary containing millions of Parisian remains. In the dark galleries and narrow passages, you’ll see bones arranged in a macabre display that fits perfectly with the dark, gothic vibe of the Angel of Darkness.
Again, book a timed ticket to avoid long lines. Take the metro to Denfert-Rochereau which is right by the entrance to the catacombs.
There’s no doubt the location team put a lot of effort into making the Paris we see in the Angel of Darkness feel real. Their expertly crafted game environments and locations allow us Tomb Raider fans a way to retrace Lara’s footsteps on our own travels. Just be aware that as of January 2023, major protests are going on in Paris with occasional violent clashes with police that should be avoided by visitors. Yes, Lara did get tear-gassed a few times in the Angel of Darkness, but not everything needs to be replicated.