Saturday, September 26, 2009

Have you ever been to France?

Although I found the people of France to be the rudest on the planet. The Navy took me there. So rather than sit and mope I went exploring.
I have been to several very interesting cities in France. Cannes, San Tropez, Monte Carlo and of course Paris. Paris has a rich cultural heritage, and an intriguing, world class history. "The City of Lights" is a tourist's dream if you're into that kind of thing. The Eiffel Tower, The Parisian art museum known as the Louvre, The Arch de Triumph, The Champs-Élysées is known in France as La plus belle avenue du monde ("The most beautiful avenue in the world"). But, I wanted to see something different. Something unique. I told my taxi driver I wanted something normal tourists don't look for. My French was very poor. And his English was non-existent. So our first stop was at a bar full of prostitutes. I smiled and said no thank you. "Quelque chose d'étrange pour les yeux." (something strange, for the eyes). He nodded and away we went. Next stop was 1. Avenue of Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, The catacombs of Paris.
Back in the middle 1700s, Paris ran out of burial plots. That didn't stop the Churches from accepting payment for the burials of the newly dead. And just piling them into mass graves. When the earth could hold no more, the bodies literally spilled into the streets. Disease and pestilence were rampant. The City government passed a resolution to move all the bodies from all the current cemetaries into the quarry under the city. The re-interment took 70 years to complete. And when it was done 6 million bodies had been moved. Let me show you the city under the City of Lights:

The sign reads: "STOP. This is the empire of the dead."

Thi sign is telling you that the bones in this area are from The Cemetery Of The Innocent Ones. In April, 1786

Next time you do the tourist thing. Find something new. Oh yea, unattended children are not allowed in here. Next time I'll show you something equally as interesting in the city of Prague.


Amber said...

That is very cool in a creepy way. I've never been to France but I thought the rudest people in the world were in Chicago. Coming back from Ireland they were RUDE and a couple of weeks ago when we were there they were RUDE again.

HeartNiki said...

In 03 I went to London and Prague. I loved Prague! Here is a pic from Kutna Hora

Kelly Combs said...

I loved seeing the photos. I've never been...anywhere! :-)

Thanks for sharing.

My ADHD Me said...

Like Kelly, I've never been anywhere either. Seeing these pictures and reading what you wrote is kind of like being there via proxy.

2Thinks said...

We're planning to go to Paris this spring for a senior trip w/our daughter. I won't be able to not think of this mass grave underneath. Kind of super creepy.

We've enjoyed seeing several places in the world- Italy, Germany,London,Scotland, Switzerland- the advice of asking for unusual sites that most tourists don't see is a good one- I think.

Becki Jacket said...

Never been to France. But when working at a hotel where many many tourists from France came to stay...i found that they are pretty freakin rude. One lady didn't even wear a shirt when she came into the lobby screaming. It was terrible! And you stole my phrase! I always say that! 'It's been real. It's been fun. But it hasn't been real fun!' Haha