So now that we have our new class schedules, surprisingly, we have a lot more free time. My friend Chris from home had mentioned the Catacombs a couple of times and a few of us wanted to go, so yesterday we voyaged on over to the Catacombs. As four of us girls got on the metro, we were pretty enraptured in conversation (ok, by we, I mean I. And I was monologuing most likely). We got on a metro and then it dawned on me that I had absolutely no idea which metro we had gotten on, what stop we were transferring at and what stop we were ending up on. This is odd for me, as first of all I’m a control freak (formerly closeted) and I have really gotten to know the metro very well. However, Aleah knew exactly where we were going, but kept giggling and wouldn’t tell us where we were getting off. So I decided to exclaim that she was taking us to the catacombs to kill us, which felt fitting as she had taken us on one the SKETCHIEST and GHETTOIEST (yes that is a word) metro. And we got off at the last stop, which is always kind of eery.
Finally we got to the catacombs, where we had to wait in line and were waiting for our friend Christine to meet up with us. A guy came to tell us that they stop selling tickets at 4 and they only let in a certain amount of people in at a time, so we might not make it, even though it was only 3. We felt confident that we would make it in and decided to wait it out. Two of the girls who were with us (Ilanit and Madeleine) I had never hung out with before, so we of course chatted about a few things that I have lots to talk about: food, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and food. Ilanit and I lamented over our lack of oven and I shared my fear of Golum, who I admitted has shown up in several dreams.
Luckily we made it in and even more luckily, since we had brought our student passes, we got in fo free! Once we got in, immediately you proceed down a spiral stone staircase that goes for about 20 meters (the whole time I kept thinking about how my mom would just hate the Catacombs). After we made it down, you walk through a long and continuous passageway, which is very narrow and dark. I kept feeling like I was in Indiana Jones. After about one third of the passageway, there’s a big open archway and then you proceed into the part that is all the bones. The reason why there are all these bones is because like I mentioned before, there wasn’t enough room for cemeteries in Paris and there was disease, which people believed was because of some of the cemeteries. So they decided to build beneath Paris and move all the graves beneath the city. I will just say that it is mind blowing that people created all of the passageways and also that people WILLINGLY transported bodies 20 meters below the ground. World’s shittiest job I think. Another unfortunate part of the Catacombs is that they are beneath the metro and sewers, so some of the ceilings leak, which is really just extremely unpleasant. Which also makes the clay/stone ground slippery. So it was pretty much my worst nightmare: dodging sewer water stuck underneath the ground, surrounded by bones and trying not to fall on the ground. Oh and I had to pee (the bladder has gotten much better at holding it, but that doesn’t mean I still don’t always have to go). Finally we finished, but that meant that we then needed to climb up the spiral staircase once again. So by the time you get out, you’re disoriented, winded, and so thrilled to be out alive. Thanks for the suggestion Chris, I absolutely LOVED the UNDERGROUND CEMETERY.
We still had time to kill in our day, so we decided to do something else. Christine did homestay instead of living in one of the student residences, so she lives in the 6th arrondissement. She had told me this a week before, to which I replied, “Girl, you are in the mecca of the food shops, that is where ALL the famous chocolate shops and whatnot are.” So I (logically) made her a little list of places near where she lived for her to go to and explore. One of the places was a tea place and we weren’t far from her arrondissement, so we decided to head over there and find the place. On our way, there were two other places I had put on the list, which we looked at as well. One was a boulangerie and the other was an old school confectionary shop (so it had marzipan candies, fruit de paté, gelatos, chocolates). We made it to the tea place where we discovered that it only sold tea. Whoops… Luckily there was an adorable tea place across the street, so we went there instead. BEST FIND EVER! It was absolutely adorable. We sat outside and got two pots of absolutely delicious tea. Each of the girls tried a different pastry: carrot cake, chocolate cake, almond fig tart, and a choux (big cream puff kinda). They were all pretty big for French sized portions, but everyone agreed they were delicious. The woman who served us was this very sweet older lady who we spoke our simple french with. We asked her some questions and told her we were students from California. After she walked away, there was a mutual agreement that we would need to return to this place and befriend the nice older woman (surrogate grandma!).
It was a great day, kind of crazy to go from the Catacombs to a tea party, but it’s Paris. Today my class is cancelled, so I’m going to attempt to get my ipod fixed. That is the only thing I planned for my day off, as I learned my lesson last time (remember the great credit card debacle?!) and know now that one excursion like that can take up to 4 hours. Hopefully it works out!
Aleah, Christine and Madeleine showing their excitement for being in the NARROW corridor.
A well that was used for water while the Catacombs were being constructed.
Oh, you know, just a regular Tuesday. Walking by a couple hundred dead bodies.
Woo adorable tea party!