Thursday, June 9, 2011
My Paris: the Catacombs
My apartment in the fourteenth faces directly onto Place Denfert-Rochereau, where the entrance to the Catacombs is. Most weekend mornings we can see people lining up around the block, and now that tourist season has officially begun, that line begins early weekday mornings, too. So today my parents and Alexandra and I went and joined the crowds of out-of-town people come to see the ancient bones of ancient Parisians.
Going down into the Catacombs is one of the creepiest things I've ever done in my entire life. You descend spiral staircases until you're below the Métro and the RER, below the water and sewage systems, deep in what used to be the tunneling quarries below the city and are now macabrely stacked with skulls and shinbones in the shape of crosses and scallop shells. I must say, while I was fascinated to see what was beneath the city, I'm not sure that the lovely Alexandra fully enjoyed herself - it was a little early in the morning to be exposed to what's below Paris' shining crust....
Have you been to the Catacombs? What did you think? Would you go?
Photo from here