Mar 26, 2013

Paris: The Catacombs










So, this one time, in 18th century Paris...the cemetery of Saints Innocents was overflowing with the dead and became condemned as the origin of infection for all the inhabitants of the Les Halles district. The addition of more suburban burial ground was in order, but the Police Lieutenant General, Alexandre Lenoir, had another idea in mind. Paris had an extensive amount of stone quarries underground that had long been abandoned and needed condensing. What better way to make use of wasted space than to fill them with bones? In 1786, Paris began the great exhumation and transfer of all their dead into these underground tunnels. In its first years, the catacombs were mainly a bone repository, but when Louis-Etienne Héricart de Thury took over the renovations in 1810, he took a bit of creative license and transformed the underground caverns into veritable works of art. Today, visitors can walk through Paris' famed catacombs, marveling at the remains of about 6 million Parisians, arranged by bone type in patterns and littered with shapes (like hearts & crosses) made from skulls. The "romantico-macabrae" decoration, while chilling, makes for a fascinatingly unique look into the not-so-lovely history of Paris. 
A tourist attraction definitely not for the faint of heart.

And yes, I touched them. EWWWWWWWW! ;)

*linking up with Helene for Travel Tuesday!*

27 comments:

  1. This is on my list of things to do for when I eventually visit Paris. I know someone who went and somebody on the same tour as them tried to steal a bone! Who does that?

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  2. you know, I lived in Paris (and passed the Catacombs often) but have never been! so gruesome - the little kid in me wants to go :)

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  3. this is the one thing I feel like I really missed out on when I was in Paris (the line was way too long and it was our last day.) but I HAVE to go when I go back!

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  4. We skipped this when we went to Paris. It was way too creepy for me! I would probably have a panic attack.

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  5. Jon would LOVE THIS!!!!!!!!!!! I would probably have goosebumps the whole time, but cool!!

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  6. Oh, wow! How crazy but neat!

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  7. I had no idea this is what that really was! I saw the entrance (and the line), but I'll have to do this!

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  8. As an Anthropologist this is something I would LOVE to see! Great pictures!

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  9. Cool history, I won't lie.. but totally creeptastic! And definitely unique! You brave soul... I would not handle that well. Hehe.

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  10. So cool! Kinda creepy, but cool.

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  11. When I was in Paris the catacombs were shut down for renovations. You lucky duck! I found you through the blog hop and I'm stoked! You even use Robert Frost as your blog title. Wonderful!

    The Nautical Owl
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  12. I just geeked out a little because my bff is there RIGHT NOW and she was posting all over instagram about these skull laden catacombs AND today is her birthday. You know how those things are just like, WHOOAAAA! Casey posted about the catacombs on Stephanie's birthday when she's actually IN Paris taking the catacombs tour!!!! Soooooooo coool. Small world, right? (I sound so spastic right now!)

    Like Ordinary Life

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  13. I love that you have all of these pictures. I'm a new blogger and I'm currently studying abroad in France and I cannot wait to go do the tours of the catacombs. :)

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  14. Definitely creepy, but also cool. It would be so neat to see, but I have a thing about dead things so I'd be very weirded out most of the time. I'd still do it though!

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  15. I keep meaning to do this when I'm in Paris (but inevitably get distracted by amazing food). These photos are incredible, I must make it a priority for next time!

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  16. Those catacombs are weird and interesting and creepy all rolled into one.......I do think it is awesome that you touched them....

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  17. How very interesting! That's a pretty cool thing to experience in person.

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  18. Super neat adventure! Love the history...and great pictures! Sounds eerie, but fun...

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  19. This is one of those things that will remain on my bucket list forever. I want to go but I know I'm way too much of a chicken! It's CREEPY!

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  20. prettttty sure you're the only person I know who could look that gorgeous next to ancient skulls...

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  21. I LOVE catacombs!! The couple I've experienced in Italy never let me take pictures, so very cool you could! I can't believe it's 6 million Parisians...

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  22. Tried to go last time we were there but the line was hours long! So going next time. My two boys would LOVE it!
    Dena
    http://itsabouttakingthejourney.blogspot.de

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  23. Okay seriously that is the creepiest place ever!!! BUT I would have totally touched them too! I can't believe they preserved all of this & they are really skulls! That's crazy!!

    Ergo - Blog

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  24. I am both intrigued and skeeved out by this.

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  25. bah! what a cool experience. and so crazy to witness in real life! i am loving your new design!!!

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  26. I wanted to get here so badly, yet the line was huge...sigh. Gonna try my luck next time! Your pics are so cool!

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