Monday, February 07, 2011

Secrets from the Underbelly of Paris

  Women drinking beer manet
It's 1800 or so. 
There you are, sitting in a café in Paris, relaxing, wearing somethin
g Parisian with great éclat and style. 
Unless you are feeling deeply philosophical it's unlikely you wonder about what secrets lie hidden beneath your feet.   

"All secrets are deep. All secrets become dark. That's in the nature of secrets." 
Cory Doctorow

It is not solid earth down there. 

See the rest  at Word Wenches here


  1. Anonymous7:35 PM

    I have been in the catacombs where they put the bones. Its a truly bizarre and very French experience. You go down, and for a while you walk through tunnels, with some caves walled off. Just as you think maybe that's where the bones are, you come to a carving of a French prison island, I think Devil's Island (the one Dreyfus was sent to)--made by someone who spent 10 years on the island. Why he chose to spend 3 years underground replicating his prison is beyond me. Then there is an arch, with a quote from Dante "Abandon hope..." And beyond it are what feels like miles of long bones, tibias and so forth, neatly stacked, occasionally decorated with skulls, with all the small bones apparently thrown in back of the stacks. You can't walk through it without brushing against them. And because they don't want you to miss any of it, any short cuts are blocked off by ropes. Somewhere in there is an altar made of bones. When you come out of the bone area, before you go up, there is a domed area, and an explanation that these domed areas are all over Paris and that the ground could fall through into tthem. And to complete the experience, they search your purse on the way out in case, god forbid, you have stolen any bones.
    Reading The Forbidden Rose, with this in mind, gave it a particularly vivid charm....

  2. Y'know . . . they got the Louvre; they got the Rodin museum; they got the Musee D'Orsay.

    They have a bloody zoological garden.

    And still people go to the catacombs.
    Funny lot, people.

  3. Anonymous8:39 PM

    Oh yes, we did all of that. Several times. And I would go back (except maybe to the Rodin) but not the catacombs. Still, it was memorable...DLS