Thursday, August 25, 2011

Paris together - 6 million souls - Day 3

Day 3 in Paris got off to a slow start. J had his first croque monsieur - liked it - and we headed to the Montparnasse area and the Catacombs.

The line was long, wrapping the entire block. It was a gorgeous day, though, and we decided to wait. And then we had been there long enough and moved far enough that we didn't want to throw that away. And we were entertained by the conversation of 2 Australian globe-hopping couples ahead of us.
The Catacombs are an ossuary. From the late 1700's to the mid-1800's, bodies in cemeteries close to the then edges of the city were thought to be causing/ exacerbating plagues. So the effort began to move bodies from those graveyards to an old limestone quarry "far from town". The only inhabitants buried directly in the Catacombs were the casualties of a specific battle during the Revolution.

We walked the paths with careful respect.

6 million bodies, all told. Their thigh bones and skulls stacked in careful formations along the passageways. With all of those bodies, something supernatural is bound to have been shaken loose, roused, stirred. Did I maybe capture something in the pic below? At the top of the lit area are the heads of those in front of me, but what is that on the lower right? Maybe it's just light on the opposite wall. I think it looks awful face-like.

This was the landmark of the day, but still only half of it. Other things:

  • As we emerged to a main street and were about to cross to find a cafe for a drink and snack, a flash mob of hundreds of roller bladers woooshed past - and kept coming and coming.  They gathered in a square in front of a church, talked a bit, then dispersed.
  • Passed St Germain des Pres and Les Deux Magots (a famous cafe).
  • Visited the apartment of a dead designer chic -the area still had some cool galleries.
  • Toured the Pompidou Centre, starting on the upper floors and descending - we didn't finish.  What was awesome was J's joy and delight at seeing the works he's been studying the last 4 years in the flesh.  There was a painting titled Alice and several paintings by Dado that I found quite creepy.
  • We returned to the Duchess for dinner.  A mistake.  We'll stick to the memories of the first night.

No comments: