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Paris Day 9 – Morts, Macy, & Monuments

Alright, the third time is the charm, right? Today, we make our third attempt to visit the catacombs. This time we’ll arrive before the attraction opens, and hopefully the lines won’t be too long. Afterwards, we head over to check out the Eiffel Tower, a required visit for any tourist in Paris! Oh, and we also run into a famous celebrity in the streets…

The catacombs open at 10:00am, so we arrived before then and the line wasn’t too long. By 10:30 we were finally stepping into the entryway. No vandalism or ridiculous lines to stop us this time!

The Lion of Belfort as seen from the entrance to the catacombs. The Lion of Belfort as seen from the entrance to the catacombs.

The catacombs were pretty somber, spooky, and fascinating. We descended nearly 6 stories underground and walked almost a mile through quarry tunnels before reaching the official entrance to the catacombs proper.

Jeff doing his "The Scream" imitation as we walk deep underground through the old quarry to the site of the catacombs. Jeff doing his “The Scream” imitation as we walk deep underground through the old quarry to the site of the catacombs. Beyond this ominous archway is the entryway to the catacombs proper and a sign that reads: Arrête, c'est ici l'empire de la Mort ('Stop, this is the empire of Death') Beyond this ominous archway is the entryway to the catacombs proper and a sign that reads: Arrête, c’est ici l’empire de la Mort (‘Stop, this is the empire of Death’)

There were walls and walls of skulls and femurs everywhere. Each section was marked with a grave stone signifying when those bones were moved to the catacombs. All total, the remains of over 6 million people are buried here. I could tell that some of the residents here met grisly ends with fractured skulls and bullet holes.

A wall of skulls and bones in the pale light of our LED lamps. A wall of skulls and bones in the pale light of our LED lamps. Jeff and Jen checking out one of the many careful arrangements of bones. It is estimated that over 6 million dead are interred here. Jeff and Jen checking out one of the many careful arrangements of bones. It is estimated that over 6 million dead are interred here.

After we finished our tour, we began the long trek across Paris towards the Eiffel Tower. Along the way, we stopped so Jen could use one of the fancy public restrooms. While we were waiting, I noticed a guy with long hair in a button up shirt and jeans walking towards us. Jeff jokingly said, “Hey, It’s William H. Macy!” I took a long look at him and said, “Uh, dude… That really IS William H. Macy!” “No way…” retorted Jeff.

So we watched him walk right by us and up the street a ways to the post office (apparently to check his mail) and then he turned around and walked back towards us. By then, Jeff got a good look and said, “Holy crap! That is William H. Macy!” So I stood Kim against the wall and pretended to take a picture of her while I really focused on Mr. Macy and snapped the picture you see below. Voilà!

We spotted William H. Macy as we walked towards the Eiffel Tower from the catacombs. How cool is that? We spotted William H. Macy as we walked towards the Eiffel Tower from the catacombs. How cool is that?

What a day! We finally made it into the catacombs AND we spotted a famous celebrity! The rest was just icing on the cake. We continued our trek across Paris, passing by Invalides (the burial place of Napoleon) and finally made it to the crowded, touristy, gypsy-laden area around the Eiffel Tower.

Chilling in Luxembourg Gardens while we wait for Jen to finish some shopping. Chilling in Luxembourg Gardens while we wait for Jen to finish some shopping. I snapped a picture of Invalides as we passed by on our way to the Eiffel Tower. I snapped a picture of Invalides as we passed by on our way to the Eiffel Tower.

We didn’t linger very long. We stopped briefly to check out a protest put on by young Parisians about the poor job situation in France for college graduates, and then we made our way under the tower and up the steps on the other side.

Here's the Eiffel Tower looking ominous against a gray sky. It began raining soon afterwards. Here’s the Eiffel Tower looking ominous against a gray sky. It began raining soon afterwards. When the sun came back out, Kim and I posed for a picture with the Eiffel Tower in the background. When the sun came back out, Kim and I posed for a picture with the Eiffel Tower in the background.

Then we went home for a lovely home cooked Indian curry dinner and off to bed. Tomorrow we finally leave Paris and check out the countryside in Giverny. See you then!

One Response to “Paris Day 9 – Morts, Macy, & Monuments”

  1. on 26 Jun 2011 at 4:12 am Dad

    Actual translation is: Stop! Here is the empire of the dead. (Or literally, It is here the empire of the dead.)

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