“Baby’s asleep now.”
We’d been instructed by the father of said baby to sing a song to help the ‘child’ fall asleep. We chose ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’ and soon enough, he was off to the land of Nod. Or so the father insisted – we reckon the fact that he was smothering his baby with a pillow as we butchered that lullaby probably contributed to the child’s lifeless state. And to add, the baby was actually a full grown man, reduced to a toddler’s height by an extremely haphazard amputation of his legs.
Yes, this was dark and rough and exactly what we like in a haunted house!
Le Manoir de Paris is the capital’s permanent scare attraction, France’s answer to London’s London Bridge Experience. Now, we haven’t been through the Tombs’ normal operations yet so we can’t comment there but the best way to describe Manoir is to say that it blends the scares with the theatrics like last year’s Phobophobia did. You walk through an area, encounter a character who delivers a mini-scene and then you move onto the next zone. But the theatrics aren’t really participatory save for a handful of moments – they’re more about setting the scene and providing a bit of context for your current space. This definitely isn’t on Merlin’s Dungeons level of theatricality – it’s just a bit of story to set up the next scare.
And on that front, it definitely delivers! They throw pretty much everything at you for the half hour plus that you’re in there – we counted at least three oversized animatronic beasts, two claustrophobia tunnels, many insanely loud and powerful air cannons and much, much more. And then there were moments where the actors got brilliantly close – at one point I had a straight razor pressed against my neck, making the scene feel very, very real!
We understand that Le Manoir de Paris operates in the same way as London Tombs does – with one half of the experience being rethemed periodically. On our visit, we went through The Legends of Paris. This section basically cycled through famous French characters such as the Phantom of the Opera and the Man in the Iron Mask. Here each new scene didn’t really connect to the previous one, imagine it sort of like a greatest hits. The second half, The Royal Hotel Paradis was one long storyline – we checked into the hotel and very quickly regretted our choice of accommodation! Did we have a favourite part? If pushed, we’d say that maybe the hotel section was slightly better, if only because of the continuity between scenes.
This is a super long attraction – we very quickly lost track of the number of scenes that we walked through. You’ll definitely come out of there feeling as though you’d gotten your money’s worth!
We have to point out one moment that was so fantastically staged that the memory hasn’t faded at all. The best way to describe it is that it was akin to a video game cut scene – think of a monster reveal in Resident Evil for example. We turned a corner and heard something behind us. We reluctantly looked back to see a human tangle of arms and legs pulling himself along the floor. His movements were super freaky and so we put an extra spring in our step. This obviously prompted the contorted creature to scramble towards us at inhuman speed. Actors appearing from behind guests is something that should be done more often. When you’re walking towards someone, you have the control because you’re choosing to make those steps in that direction. If something’s chasing you, all bets are off!
And they offer English-speaking tours! If you tell them that you speak English, they provide a glow stick signalling all the actors to deliver the show in English. And they do it effortlessly! This is a major boost because it’s not something we expected. Although, given the theatric moments, it could’ve gotten awkward very quickly had we not understood the cast!
Very little here! There was a minor problem we had where we caught up with the French-speaking group in front of us. The actor performing the scene spotted us and walked over, in character, telling us to sit down and then returned to the group to finish with them. We appreciated that he didn’t break character but the fact that we had to sit and watch the conclusion (although, being in French, we couldn’t understand what was being said!) to our next scene was a bit immersion-shattering! We’re not sure how this happened either because our progress was 90% dictated by the theatrics – we must have torn through the non-actor led moments!!
Le Manoir de Paris (2017)
Wow. We just loved this one - it was long, with the theatric scenes that didn't outstay their welcome coupled with really forceful actors at points! Considering that it was a permanent attraction, we were expecting something tourist-safe - we were definitely wrong on that point! If you're in Paris go, just go!
Ticket Price: 27€
Address: 18, Rue De Paradis 75010 Paris