Go, Kristi!!!

My travels through life and the world.

Final weekend in Paris – Sacre Coeur and the Catacombs July 4, 2011

Filed under: France — Kristi @ 5:39 pm

Today I finished with my main source. YAY!! This means that tomorrow I get to look at something different, for 1 day. On Wed. I’m going to go back to my main documents and make sure that all the pictures are good. However, I’m definitely looking forward to tomorrow. In fact, they might actually not be in microfilm… that would be AMAZING!!! So basically, my research is going pretty well. Then, in honor of the 4th of July, Eve and I got McDonalds, as is my tradition when in France. It is so much better than American McDonalds, in that it doesn’t make my internal organs want to leave my body in protest. So that was fun.


On a completely non-research note, this past weekend was my final weekend in Paris. Next weekend I’ll be in Venice, which will be super exciting as I’ve never been there. However, the weekend was exciting. On Friday, Eve and I went to Sacre Coeur, which is beautiful.





On our way up we met the Gold Man, you know, one of those guys who is completely painted gold and stands like a statue until you give him some money. Well, we got our pictures taken with him, and he was very nice.



Then we went up to the basilica, which has an excellent view of the city.




Finally, we went inside (they ask you not to take pictures, so I didn’t) and there was the Jubilee mass going on. We went in at the end of mass so we didn’t disturb anything but we got to hear the giant organ playing. It was very cool as I’d never heard an organ that large play. After leaving the church, we wandered around the neighborhood behind and ran into an excellent fiddler; I bought his CD.



On Saturday, we decided to go to the Catacombs.



Basically, in the late 18th century, one of the cemeteries in the center of Paris had become so overcrowded that it was causing diseases for the people who lived around it. They decided to disinter all of the people and deposit them in an old quarry south of town. After this initial collection, they removed the bones from the remaining cemeteries until 1814 and deposited them in the catacombs. What they ended up with was miles of tunnels with millions of bones (about 6 million people) stacked along the corridors. The bones from each cemetery are labeled with a stone cross which bears the cemetery name and the date the bones were transferred.  What is interesting, to me anyway, is that the bones are arranged decoratively. They created shapes with the skulls and the long bones such as crosses, hearts, scalloped edges, and simple layers. There were also very interesting carvings of buildings. I’m not quite sure what they are about, perhaps I’ll do some research and let you know… but probably not. 🙂


Here are some pictures before the Ossuary. You basically have to walk about a km in a very low tunnel. If you are claustrophobic, you do not want to go down there. In some cases the ceiling was about 2-5 inches above my head. It was VERY low! Overall, you spend about 45 minutes underground, you walk down about 130 steps, walk for about 2km, and then walk up about 80 steps or so. You pop out in the most nondescript doorway in the middle of a residential area. It is fascinating that there are millions of bones buried under the city of Paris.






Here are pictures inside the Ossuary (warning, these pictures are of bones)





Wed. – 3 miles

Thurs. – 3 miles

Fri. – 6.5 miles

Sat. – 10 miles

Mon. – 4.5 miles

Total: 108.5 miles


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