Thursday, February 3, 2011

France and Belgium - Part Five

Les Catacombes - are a network of underground tunnels that span a majority of Paris. Only a few hundred feet are actually open to the public. They are situated in a very unpresuming area of the town and you wait for at least an hour to get in! Make sure to arrive with enough time otherwise thirty minutes before closing they cut the line off and you won't be able to get in. Ask me how I know? I waited for over an hour on Halloween and we were about 30 people away from the front when they turned us away. Le sigh. We came back the next day!

Les Catacombes are a bit chilly so bring a long something warm and I would recommend wearing jeans and closed toe shoes. There is water that drips from the ceiling and creates mud puddles which we all know its not dead body juice but I was convinced it might be dead body juice splashing up.

You will have to take a steep incline down and walk for about twenty minutes before you see the actual tombs or bone structures. Notice the black on the ceilings, they painted lines so you could tell where you were going.

Its quite beautiful and they have areas that are organized in a formation. The amazing part is that the bones have been there since the late 1700's and there are many famous people buried there but nothing is marked so you would have no way of knowing who's bones are down there.

There are beautiful carvings down inside Les Catacombes that were created by the people who spent hours down there. Kind of wierd but beautiful!

Another more elaborate carving.

We've finally arrived to the area that houses all the bones.

Just around the corner is hundreds of thousands of just leg, arm and skull bones.

What needs to be remembered when visiting Les Catacombes is that this is a final resting place for many people.

So just as you would be respectful in a cemetery you need to be respectful in Les Catacombes. Apparently, in 2009, people were stealing bones (?!) and graffiting the walls and the exhibit was going to be permanently closed. Thankfully, they did reopen it!

This is one of the many areas to stop and remember your loved ones at. Some areas had benches and beautiful carved plaques.

I also, believe, I remember reading that the tunnels have been used in multiple wars for protection. The entrance we came in was a little un presuming entrance next to a church. Inside the tunnel they have marked areas that have been expanded with dated plaques like this one.

There is also a natural bell that was caused. Usually in a mine when a bell shape like this is caused it means that the cave will cave in but luckily they were able to concrete in the bell an keep the tunnel open and safe.

Last but not least, a video from inside Les Catacombes. Jack thought it'd be really funny to whisper Les Morte in my ear while I was recording. Needless to say, I was a little spooked out with all the bones and DID not find it very funny. Boys are such jerks sometimes!

Up tommorow, Arc De Triomphe!

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