Thursday, March 18, 2010

Paris Catacombs

This is a creepy post - fair warning. There are many bones and skeletons involved...turn back now if you are scared.

We went to the Paris Catacombs one afternoon. Granger graciously offered to hang in the car with a sleeping Connor - which turned out to be a very good thing. We had no idea the magnitude of what we were to see and experience. Two kilometers deep, deep down underground, a rock quarry full of bones. The stroller and/or Connor's little legs would never have survived the journey. And as the signs warned, "it would have made a lasting impact on young minds" - toddler disaster avoided, phew.

To tell the truth the Paris Catacombs made a "lasting impact" on this not so young mind!

We hiked down, down, down through this mousetrail of a tunnel. The Catacombs used to be a rock quarry. The miners left these incredible carvings from the time they spent deep under the Earth. But the Catacombs were transformed from a rock quarry to the world's largest underground cemetery. The bones of 6 million Parisians were transferred when the Paris cemeteries were closed. They believed the buried bones were causing illness among the living. Thus during the 18th and 19th centuries the skeletons were transferred to the Catacombs. It is shocking. No photo could ever describe the expanse of bones stacked together for over a mile of labyrinth corridors.

It is one of the more curious places I have ever been.
Though it gave me shivers to be underground with so many spirits, I am glad we didn't miss the Catacombs. They give unique insight to French history and problem-solving. We returned to a still-napping Connor and Granger safe and sound in the car aghast with what we had seen. And grateful to return to the fresh air and sunshine.

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