Since we only had one week to do EVERYTHING in the most wonderful city in the world, Husband and I had to make some choices. We did not hit every museum or every church. We could not eat in every restaurant. It was a decidedly textbook vacation. But there were some places that could not be avoided.
Like the skating rink on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower:
(notice our new ghost-friends)
And, of course, The Catacombs:
Ever since I read Edgar Allan Poe’s “Cask of Amontillado” I have wanted to go to the Catacombs. Thousands and thousands of skeletons 200 feet underground? Sign me up! We got off to a late start (for us) that morning and thus joined a few hundred people in the Slowest-Moving Line Ever. Due to the somber and fragile nature of this underground museum, only 200 people are allowed in at any given time. We waited about an hour to take the 130 steps down.
Traveling through 2 km of passageways, the amount of bones became a bit overwhelming. Visiting a cemetery is one thing; seeing a mass grave is quite another. Husband got a quick lesson in the Kantian sublime.
Then, because one ossuary wasn’t enough, we went to Pere Lachaise Cemetery. And because we are masters of temporal planning, we allowed ourselves one hour to tackle the largest cemetery in Paris.
We wanted to find Jim Morrison’s grave for my brother-in-law:
And found some other devotees toasting the beloved artist. Yes, that is whiskey they are drinking on top of another grave. Classy!
Remember that episode of “Doug” when his sister Judy insisted upon finding Blythe Field? That’s ok, I found it for you. It starts at 6 min, 45 seconds:
Yeah, that’s kind of how I was. We found Gericault, we found Oscar Wilde, but no no no, I had to find Jacques Louis David. The bell tolled to say the cemetery was closing and we began walking to exit. Husband grew concerned they would lock us in, but I said, “No no, they can’t lock us in.” We reached the exit.
They locked us in.
A car at the top of the hill honked. We sprinted (have you ever sprinted on cobblestone? It’s not easy) only to have them tell us in broken English (my French had by that point abandoned me entirely) that there was one door still left open. We ran again in another direction to find the tiny door left barely ajar. We barely escaped a night in a cemetery.
The cemetery closed at 5:30 pm. It was 5:45 pm when we left the gates.