Sunday, December 8, 2013

Paris Day 2: Paris Catacombs

I was very excited to see the Paris catacombs. I took so many photos!

We tried to start the day early, because the line for the Catacombs can become very long. It opens at 10am, we got to the area just after 10am and the line was already halfway around the block! I'm glad that we tried to go early. The Catacombs was only a 30min walk from our hotel.
We grabbed a pastry takeaway to eat while in the line. These little birds came to eat the crumbs. Merissa kept feeding them because they were so cute.

A man was doing 2euro silhouettes. He was really quick!

Random guy in the background.

We paid the entrance fee and got an audio guide (6euro for me because I'm under 25). Then down, down, down into the bowels of the earth. 130 steps down!

There were a few rooms with exhibits. This poster is showing how far down we are.
We had a quick read, but we really wanted to see the bones! First there was about 10 minutes of walking through tunnels.

I was too talk for some of the parts. The ceiling was damp and slimey.

These carvings were done by a underground worker, who did them on his breaks. He died while creating a staircase so that people could visit his carvings.

This was a interesting well.

After 10 minutes of walking, we finally got to the entrance of the ossuary. The catacombs was consecrated in 1786, and received bones from a nearby cemetery. The bones were moved from the cemetery due to complaints from the locals worried about health.
We couldn't use flash while moving through the catacomb. There were attendants who yelled at us if we got too close to the bones.

I was a very humbling experience being amongst so many bones. It was hard to get my head around the fact that these were once people.
There are so many bones, all piled together. We followed the tunnels, and they were all filled with bones, even the tunnels that were roped off to the public. It's interesting to think that the stuff we saw was only one small part to a huge underground network filled with human remains.

Our audioguide told us the story of a secret party in the Victorian times. Attendants hung out in the crypts while morbid music played. Me and Merissa would have loved to attend something like that!

It's amazing how high the piles of bones were. Taller than me!

This was the end of the crypts. At the end, there was 83 steps back up the street level. Across the road is an unofficial souvenir shop. The catacombs doesn't have an official shop. We walked back past the catacomb entrance and the line was VERY LONG. If you go to the catacombs, try to get there as early as possible. The line is huge because they can only let in 200 people at a time.

We headed back towards our hotel and saw this interesting building along the way:
It was called the Musée du Service de Santé des Armées. We had NO IDEA what the hell it was, so we headed inside. The lady at the counter knew little English, and we knew little French. We figured out that entry was 5euro, so we paid to get in.
We were the only people in the museum.

Their website states:
"Created during the 1914-1918 war, the museum allows visitors through the presentation of educational collections to better understand the foundations and shared-armed medicine: medical support of the armed forces, psychiatric research, underwater medicine and aerospace fight against toxic gases, humanitarian, care populations, creation of medical school, the fight against the major endemic overseas and against metropolitan or exotic infectious diseases, advances in hygiene"

The building started as a convent, built by Anne of Austria. From what I remember, she prayed to God to get a child (probably a male), her prays were answered and she built this as a show of thanks.
It was an interesting museum overall!

Funny tapestry about treating patients.

The chapel/alter was amazing!

Creepy wartime painting.
All of the exhibit was in French, so we had no idea what we were looking at. We guessed most of the items.

A scythe for an amputee so he can do farm work.

A relief about immunisation.

Wax cast of arm

Wax casts of facial reconstruction.

Well, that's the end of day three. We were both very tired, so we went back to our hotel for dinner and sleep.

2013 Trip:
Paris Day 1 [here]
Paris Day 2 [here]
Paris Day 3 [here]

Rome Day 1 [here]
Rome Day 3 [here]
Rome Day 3 [here]

Vienna Day 1 [here]
Vienna Day 2 [here]
Vienna Day 3 [here]

Berlin Day 1 [here]
Berlin Day 2 [here]
Berlin Day 3 [here]

UK [here]


Laura Morrigan said...

I still remember the catacombs, it was the ultimate highlight of my trip! Touching an old skull in the wall, seeing such beauty made of death was a moving experience. But I respected them, of course, not like some people who try to steal the bones.

Crypt parties with morbid music are definitely my kind of thing. I always think the dead like our company, anyway.

That chapel really is amazing!

What a fascinating exhibit!

Your trip is really making me want to go back there! I need money! I definitely want to see the catacombs again!

Lucretia said...

Gods, I am SO. JEALOUS.

Thanks for sharing the pics, especially the ones of the catacombs!! Wish I'd been there, as I do speak/read some French... I'm rusty, but was able to figure out that the name of that museum is "Museum of Health of the Armed Services". I'd have liked to see it as well, it sounds fascinating!

jurassicgoth said...

Great photos :-)

N. Finsternis said...

Oh this looks so awesome!!! I wish to visit the catacombs one day and take load of pictures! Thanks for sharing!! You looks lovely as always!!

Vulcan_Butterfly said...

I love the pictures of the catacombs, I have always wanted to visit there!

Insomniac’s Attic said...

So cool, Natalie! Did you feel claustrophobic being underground in those tiny tunnels?

That museum you stumbled across by accident was pretty neat, too!