Thursday, December 4, 2014

Les Catacombes, Musée de l'Orangerie et l'operà - France Vacation -- Day 4

Bonjour mes amis! Well the days are flying by here in Paris, and I'm sure that is in part to how much we are packing in to each day. But honestly, it feels like we've been here for a good way!

Last night we stayed up quite late, it was after 1 AM, and I reluctantly crawled into bed. But as unsure as I was about whether or not I'd sleep...I was soon off in dream land. I have to say that my dreams have been incredibly strange on this trip. I wake up thinking, "what the heck was THAT about?" But because I don't talk about them right away, or write them down...I forget them. Oh the joys of getting older! **Looks for bottle of ginkgo biloba...I know I have it around here but where did I put it?**

Well, Michael ended up getting up at around 6 this morning and it wasn't much longer before I too rolled my lazy butt out of bed. Now I know most of are you are thinking, "Why the hell are you getting up so damn early?" Well, honestly, at home we are up at this time normally. And we have been taking naps here in the afternoon. Let me tell you, I am LOVING this nap time thing. If there was only a way I could fit them in at home! I might have to make that a priority!

Well we started our day with breakfast. The swear words weren't nearly as prolific this morning when I battled the induction cook top. I honestly still don't care for it...but it does it's job. I made us each an over easy egg, and then put these pieces of salami in the pan and fried them a little bit (I'm REALLY jonesing for some bacon) and then we each had a croissant. And after that I managed to scarf down 1/2 a baguette with some butter. HAHA :) Man I'm on carb overload here...but I LOVE it! After breakfast I decided to bust open the bottle of champagne the owner of this flat gave us when we checked in. What? Who doesn't have a mimosa on a Thursday morning??

With breakfast out of the way it was time to shower and get ready for Paris to wake up! We had big plans for the day.

**Disclaimer** If you are squeamish about human skeletal may want to scroll ahead. I am warning you, the pictures from Les Catacombes de Paris show walls of bones. **End of Disclaimer** (What does this mean? You've been warned...that's what.)

We decided that the first place we were going to visit today was Les Catacombes de Paris. Since we were here the last time I had been hearing about this tour. I won't lie...I was a bit apprehensive about this tour, but I didn't let that show. I'm usually pretty disturbed by things like this, but I went into it with an open mind and knowing that it is a major part of the history of this amazing city. So we took the Metro to the Denfert - Rochereau stop. The entrance to Les Catacombes was right across the street from where we came above ground.

Standing in line I was reminded again how "American" I am when it comes to personal space. I feel that in the rest of the world they aren't as big on it...but to me, I don't appreciate people standing right on top of me. So waiting in line all I could think was..."touch me one more time and there will be some new bones added to one of the walls." What? Come'd think it too!

We made it to the door, stepped in and bought our tickets and received the handheld device for the audio tour. **Sidenote** The audio tour is totally worth the extra euros. Trust me...spend it. **End Sidenote** We descended into the tunnels via another stone spiral staircase. The Europeans were BIG on these spiral staircases. We were laughing on the way down because the woman in front of us was from New Jersey...and yes she was what you picture when you think of someone from New Jersey. She had several different highlights in her hair, and that accent was so thick you could cut it with a knife. But it was hilarious listening to her go..."How many more stairs are there? God I'm getting dizzy! What the hell, I thought that was a landing!" It's moments like these that really take your mind off the fact that you are dizzy yourself.

When we finally reached the entrance to the "galleries," no joke that's what they called them, we started our audio tour. It was crazy to find out how far beneath the city streets we truly were. The staircase descends about 19 meters below the streets. You enter this entirely different world. I can't explain the feeling that I had when we started the tour. I listened to others as they were laughing and talking loudly. I secretly wished that the priest from Notre Dame was there. If you haven't read my blogs from the last time we visited Europe, I talked about an Asian gentleman that was talking rather loudly. A priest came out from the confessional and went, "Shhh!" Well the guy didn't stop. So the priest said, "Shut up!" That STILL didn't stop the guy so the priest in a stage whisper said, "Shut up, STUPID!" Not exactly what I thought Jesus would have done in the same situation...but effective nonetheless. So yea...I wish he had been there to shush these people. I felt like we were entering a cemetery...and needed to show some respect.

We made our way through the tunnels that lead to the actual catacombs. We listened to the history of the tunnels, how they were actually old mines and quarries beneath the streets of Paris. Many events led to the stabilization of the quarry walls/ceilings and the moving of the bones of more than 6 million people. There is honestly so much information that we learned on this tour that I haven't had the chance to wrap my brain around it all. Here are some pictures from the "galleries" leading up to the catacombs.

The stairs to the first "gallery"

This apparently signifies the year it was laid, the initial of the person responsible and the 19 means something too LOL

One of the stacked pillars used to support the ceilings

This black line was originally put on the ceiling to lead the first visitors to the catacombs through.

Throughout there are street signs, these actually tell you what street you are currently under.

The next picture explains this carving.

This picture explains the next one :)

Well we made it through the galleries and it was time to enter into the place where the walls were lined with bones. As I said in the disclaimer, this is no joke. I you are a bit squeamish or may be offended by this, please...scroll past. We weren't allowed to take pictures using a flash so a lot of these are probably a bit blurry. I apologize for that. But the first picture says it all. "Arrête! C'est ici l'empire de la Mort." Which means, "Stop! Here lies the Empire of Death."

Leaving the part of the catacombs where the bones were was a weird feeling. The catacombs went on and on and on. Michael and I couldn't believe it. He commented, "I thought it would be like one or two hallways with some bones, this was impressive." And it truly was. I honestly can't describe it, the pictures don't do it is such a macabre scene...but one that you just can't help but continue to walk and stare in awe.

During our time in the catacombs I kept thinking to myself, "Don't slip! Don't slip and fall into the bones!" Well I almost slipped and fell into the bones. Thank goodness I didn't actually fall! **phew**

When you leave the catacombs you come to a beautiful spot.

The rest of the walk out was done in silence...except for this group of young American teenagers who loudly came up behind us. In the best valley girl accent I've heard in a while, some girl said, "It's like hard to show respect when there are many bones. I could see if there was like a few hundred, but this was just like crazy." Oh, give us all a bad name. **shakes head**

Here is the exit. So crazy that it's just in the middle of all these houses!

After our time beneath the city streets we came above ground, breathed the fresh air and realized..."WE ARE HUNGRY!" So we made our way back towards the Denfert - Rochereau Metro stop and into this street market to find lunch. So many wonderful places selling fruit, vegetables, seafood, cheese and meats. My eyes were in heaven, and the rest of my senses were in complete overload. :)

After lunch, we just each had a sandwich on a baguette...YUM! We made our way back towards the Louvre. Yesterday when we went to the Musée d'Orsay, we bought the "passport" that also gave us access to the Musée de l'Orangerie. Today in Paris was a tad bit warmer than the past few days, so walking was actually quite lovely. We made our way from the Metro to the museum. We walked in and the first exhibit you get to is the Monet exhibit. It's his famous "Waterlilies." I'm not normally the type of person who likes to sit and stare at paintings, but the sheer size and beauty of these paintings captivated me. I was again sad that we weren't allowed to take pictures of them. His exhibit took up two oval shaped rooms on the main floor, and each room had 4 paintings spanning the length of each wall. Beautiful, that's all I can say.

We made our way downstairs where they housed the rest of the paintings. We were allowed to take pictures enjoy. By the way, I won't the time we got to what is my final picture at the was warm in there and I was ready to take a I don't remember much. LOL

After leaving, we decided to walk back to our flat. Paris is such a beautiful city, so much history and so many wonderful things to see. I just can't help but want to snap a picture of EVERYTHING! Maybe I should start carrying my video camera! ;-)

La Seine


It amazes me how anatomically correct everything is here.........

We finally made it back to our flat and decided that it was promptly time for a nap. Knowing that we had the opera tonight we got right to our nap, and I set my alarm. ;-) I woke up around 5, just enough time to shower, throw on my spanx and girdle, iron my clothes and head out. I also had time to talk to my good friend Dughi Face. She caught me in a surprisingly good mood, because I just woke up from that nap LOL. So apparently I was quite funny. :)

While Michael was getting ready I decided to pull out the remote for my phone and the tripod and take some pictures. Now I'll only share two with you...but please know that I may or may not have taken quite a few more than that LOL.

 After my photo shoot, we headed out. We made our way across the Champ de Mars to the Metro. I of course stopped for the obligatory Tour Eiffel photo opp...Michael took it, so this is as good as it gets. ;-)

We made our way to the Palais Garnier, and decided we had enough time to find a boulangerie and get a baguette with ham, butter and cheese. Mhmmm. That's right. Pre-gaming...Parisian Style!

After snarfing down our sandwiches, we made our way to the Palais Garnier. This is an exquisite Opera House! You must check out my pictures from our last trip here, where I took several pictures of the inside! It's so beautiful! When planning this trip, Michael saw that we had the opportunity to take in an opera, so we jumped at the chance! The opera was "Hänsel et Gretel." We had wonderful seats in the orchestra. I noticed several things about the Palais Garnier. While beautiful, it would never pass fire or safety codes in the United States. The aisles are quite narrow, and there are not many exits once you are in the orchestra seating. Luckily...we didn't have to find out how unsafe it really is. ;-)

The opera itself was wonderful. It was in German, with French we had no clue what was going on. At one point, it looked like the people on one side were fighting with a broom, and the people on the other side were making sexual innuendos with a vacuum cleaner hose. During the intermission we looked at each other and were you get all that? We had a good chuckle. The 2nd half was really great, and I managed to snap a few pictures when they were taking their bows. They aren't that I apologize. But you get the gist of where we were seated. :)

After the opera we decided that we must have a proper dinner. :) So we went across the street to a place that was open. We shared wine, and Michael had salmon, while I had a steak and fries. :) Oh...for those of you who want to see a picture of Michael...he's in one of these pictures. You're welcome.

Here's Michael! Aren't his hands beautiful!!!

Well here I am's almost 2:30 AM and I'm just finishing this post up for you all. I hope you've enjoyed your day in Paris with me! We thoroughly enjoyed our day, and the trip into Les Catacombes de Paris was quite amazing. And how could we not have enjoyed the experience of an opera at the Palais Garnier!?

Well it's time for me to go to bed, I can't wait to see what tomorrow has in store for us. Bonne nuit!

Until next time...Keep Cookin!


  1.! You two are AMAZING! It is just like being there! Excuse my ignorance, but who belonged to the bones? ...war bodies? The Opera House was fantastic and the plot...broom versus sexy vacuum cleaner was captivating! Who says that housework has to be boring? Thanks again for sharing your adventure...I found myself looking forward to it all day! You must be getting tired! Michael's hands are indeed stunning...what a tease! Have fun...glad that the weather was a little warmer!

  2. Those Catacombs look amazing! I have got to see that someday!

  3. Such great photos capturing your amazing day. You do a fabulous job chronicling your adventures, which I think in that city is super hard to do. Every where you turn there is something amazing to capture. It really is like being there with you! Here is my a pic of me when I went to the catacombs. Let's not discuss that horrible hair - m'kay. :)

  4. I was quite tired after typing this post! I was only up so late because the internet is slower here. Not knowing were the bones are from isn't ignorance...I honestly had no idea where they were from either! When the mines/quarries were converted into the catacombs, it was because the city was running out of room for it's dead. And a series of unfortunate events involving a mass grave and neighboring basements...well it all led to the need to find a place for the bodies. So they dug up all the bones and transferred them to the catacombs. It's definitely worth doing some google research on! So amazing! :)

  5. They are quite amazing! It's honestly hard to truly describe them, and pictures just can't capture it all.

  6. So happy you loved them! :) Can't wait to share more of our trip with you all!

  7. Oh, Face. You and the one skull have the same look on your faces. ;-) And don't worry...we can discuss the hair at a later time. But this was taken right before I met you! **sigh** oh to be young and innocent again. Well maybe younger...and well...innocent...probably not. :)

  8. The Catacombs are amazing! You are having a great time there, thanks so much for sharing it with us! All the food, even the simple sandwiches, look delicious!

  9. I'm so happy that you are loving my blog posts! It is my pleasure to share this trip with you all!

  10. OMG! That's right! This was the trip I was on *just* before we met. And my all the shenanigans we've been up to together since. Love you more than my luggage. xo

  11. Oh my goodness! Once again, a superb job of capturing your day for us to share. I almost feel like I am there with you.
    But I must say, I am starting to gain weight reading about all the meals you are eating.
    And yes, I agree, those are beautiful hands. <3 :D

  12. HAHAHA! Well I'm happy someone is gaining weight with me! LOL