We had another big day planned, and needed to get to the 13th arrondisement (district) of Paris early, and it's way on the edge of the city. We left our apartment at 8 a.m., and walked to our local Metro station. This journey entailed a few line changes, but we made it to our destination early. We even had time to enjoy an espresso and macaron at McDonalds. Yes, you read that correctly! In Paris, even the McDonalds are wonderful--just look at this espresso machine, and the pastry case!
We sure don't have a Micky D's like that in Spudville!
It was time for our big adventure of the day! I'm sure today's blog title gave you a hint.......
We had read about the Catacombs of Paris, and we were both intrigued. Evidently, we are not the only ones interested in touring the catacombs, as by 10 am the line was stretched around the block! Good thing we got there early--we were in the first group of 10 people to tour.
To descend into the catacoms, of course we had to go down many steps--133 to be exact! Down and down we went, around and around we went....it was a very narrow and dark spiral staircase.
Finally! We were at the main chamber, the beginning of the catacombs. There are informative illustrations and maps about the history of the catacombs, and how and why they were built. This information helps make this amazing place even more interesting and meaningful.
We left the main chamber and walked a long ways down a very narrow winding corridor. This corridor was dark in places, quite damp-even dripping water in places. There were many twists and turn, thankfully we stayed in the main corridor, as they very wisely had the other corridors gated. I don't think I'd like to get lost down here!
The bones were arranged in decorative patterns in some areas, and were stacked about 4 1/2 feet tall throught the passageways. On top of the neatly arranged stacks the bones were just a jumble, and they were loose; i.e. not cemented in. The stacks seemed to be about 2 feet deep to as much as 10 feet deep in some areas. They are organized by which cemetary they came from, and each was neatly labled with an old hand painted sign.
Of course, to get out of the catacoms, we had to climb another set of even narrower, winding stairs. It was great to be back out in the daylight again!
We strolled around this new neighborhood for a while, but didn't find it to be particularly interesting. Our plan was to return to the Marais district from yesterday, as we just didn't get to see everything we wanted to see there. So off the find the nearest Metro stop--now that took us awhile! But we asked for directions in our Fractured French, and a nice young couple showed us the way.
Our second visit to the Marais area was spectacular! We first stopped for a nice lunch at a restaurant I had read about-La Aus du Falafel. We had wonderful falafel pitas--seriously yummy food!
Now refreshed, we set off to explore. We walked the narrow winding streets, and just happened upon the most amazing ancient churches, mansions and courtyards. Here is my favorite of the day, which now houses a museum of the History of Paris. Just look at the beautiful landscaping: