Mad Scientess Jane Expat (nanila) wrote,
Mad Scientess Jane Expat

Paris, 22 June 2010: Catacombs & Eiffel Tower

By mutual agreement, we left the hostel early on Tuesday morning to queue for access to the catacombs. For those who don't know, this underground ossuary was created in the 18th century from abandoned stone quarries to cope with the problem of Paris' overcrowded cemeteries. The artistic stacking of the bones presumably arose from the same impetus as the model carvings of the City Above by the miners: the repetitive boredom of the task at hand.

A limited number of people are allowed in the catacombs at any given time, so the wait in the queue in the morning starts at about 45 minutes and goes into the hours by afternoon. It is, however, completely worth it. After descending through over half a kilometre of access tunnels, the ossuary begins.

Entrance tunnels to the catacombs (featuring an Eric)

Bored miners make art

More art by bored miners

Subterranean well

The skulls begin

The skulls continue

They go on

Poetical message, like

Bone barrel

So many bones

Dome formed by subsidence

We emerged, blinking, into the bright Paris summer and sought sustenance. We ate lunch in the tiny park near the ossuary entrance and watched some shirtless drunks swagger about making speeches that I'm not sure were comprehensible even if one did speak French. Once our strength was restored, we went to the Eiffel Tower. The Erics went to climb the stairs while becala and I went to lie in the grass at its feet and chat.

The Eiffel Tower from directly beneath

Classic tourist picture, except..

...for the Segway tour!

Antics in the grass (becala and Erics)

More antics

Tuckered out by antics, we finished our day with wine and sushi and more wine, with cheese. I rolled off to bed at midnight, my inner goth fully satisfied.
Tags: france, paris, travel
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