Monday, June 06, 2011

Paris day 2

We decided last night to go to the Catacombs today, i have to be honest and say i wasn't too sure what to expect and i wasn't real enthusiastic about it (sorry Kami) however i was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed it!

We walked over to the metro station and took the train out to the catacombs. On exiting the metro we was about 300 people waiting to enter and walked round to the back of the line and waited.

Kami in the metro                               Beautiful metro station entrance           Metro station sign

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Apparently they let in about 200 people at a time and we would be about an hour before getting in. That was fine with me, it was a beautiful sunny day and we had no where else to be.

The 1 hour line                          Entrance to catacombs             No turning back                       Spooky!

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As we got in we walked down a spiral staircase for what seemed like 10 minutes but was probably 3 or 4 in reality,it was still a long decent underground into the long tunnels that lead to the catacombs. You can view more information about them by clicking HERE

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The walk along the tunnels was pretty creepy, I'm not the shortest person in the world at 6ft 2” and the tunnels were mainly build for people less than 6ft tall! hence i walked hunched over through most of the tunnels with shouts of “watch your head” from Kami behind me every so often when id forget!

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As we walked on through the tunnels we saw several carvings into the rock plus  tunnels that led off in other directions that had been blocked off. Water was dripping from the ceilings there was a real musky smell and the only lighting was an electric light every 50ft or so.

Amazing intricate rock carvings           Underground well                               Beautiful colour

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As we turned a corner underground we saw what we had come down here to see, BONES! and lots of them but mainly skulls and fema’s!

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There were millions of bones stacked head height on either side of the walkways with a lot of the skulls facing out looking at us! it was spooky, VERY spooky. Everywhere you turned there was bones, there was very little light and you weren't allowed to use flash photography, i used the torch on my blackberry to cast light on the bones while i took pictures. A few people passed with comments of  “oh what a clever idea”  and others walked past and did the same. A couple asked if i wouldn't mind shining my torch on a stack of skulls while they took a picture, Sure i said, that’ll be one euro please! i could have made a fortune stood down there with my torch! (i am joking, i didn't take anyone's money)

I asked Kami if i should touch one of the bones, sure she said. I then shone my light on one of the fema’s on top of the stack, just as i touched it it rocked and dropped an inch or so onto the pile, HOLY CRAP you should have seen me jump!!  my face must have been a picture. That was it, even though the bones are not behind glass or anything and are there for you to touch and see close up i had done all the touching i was gonna do and m hands remained firmly in my pocket the rest of the tour!

AT each pile of skulls and bones was a sign which told of which graveyard they were from, i guess if you had a friend or relative buried in that graveyard that's the only thing you have to see now, a huge stack of all of the people buried and a single sign. As we walked ahead the stacks just kept going and going, some just thrown in piles and some stacked up looking like pieces of art!

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We made our way out again through long tunnels with low ceilings passing several underground arches and  holes in the ground! After security checking Kami’s bag on the way out to make sure she hadn't hidden a skull we exited onto the street and breathed the “fresh” air of Paris again.

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As i said earlier, i wasn’t overly excited about seeing the Catacombs before i got there, however, i was surprisingly  impressed and would recommend anyone going to Paris to take the time out to see this amazing site. Its not the sort of place you would go over and over again but its am amazing sight to see once and say you’ve been.

We came out of the catacombs a few streets away from the entrance due to the amount of walking in the underground tunnels we had done. After getting our bearings we sat down at a street side restaurant and had lunch. We then took the metro over to the Pompidou building, i‘ve been to Paris several times and always wanted to see it but never had the chance. It was now mid afternoon and the weather was beautiful sunshine and hot, “we sat out in the spring” on the cobbled area by the Pompidou building for a while just people watching and relaxing in the sunshine.There were crowds of people all out enjoying the weather and the outdoor street artists and eating at the outdoor restaurants.

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Its a very unusual building that has all the things what are usually on the inside of a building on the outside! All the pipes, wires, ducts etc are colour coded too. For instance, everything electrical is yellow, everything air conditioning is blue etc etc i don't think there's another building like it in the world and again its worth seeing if your in Paris but only once.

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We had arranged earlier in the day to meet up with Wendy and Chris at their apartment tonight for drinks and snacks before going out to dinner. Time was getting on and we headed back to the hotel for a couple of hours to chill out and freshen up before taking the metro over the Isle of St Louis. We picked up a bottle of white wine and a bottle of Margarita mix on the way over and arrived around 7:30. Chris had been out and bought some grapes, fresh bread, cheese and a few snacks.

As most people who know me know, its not often i get drunk or drink at all to be honest, Wendy had said  before she came out to Paris that she wanted us to have a good night out together and wanted to see me drunk! She wasn't disappointed!

The wine was flowing all night as i sat at the little table in the apartment chatting to Chris, i had this really strange glass that every time it was nearing empty it surprisingly filled back up again without me even seeing how! First it was red wine, then it was white wine and then it was the bottle of margherita mix (which i drank totally on my own!) it was around 10pm when i started to loose track of things, i remember Wendy trying to get Chris and i to leave for dinner but we were happy eating our French bread and butter and drinking our drinks.

Chris (with an orb on his head!) and i righting the world     Wine, cheese, grapes, bread, Chris and I weren't moving!

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Chris and Kami          Wendy and I                                  Wendy and Kami                           Wendy & water!!

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I think it was an hour later that we headed out of the door and went to a restaurant a few doors down from the apartment. Honestly, i cant remember going to the restaurant, ordering, eating or walking back after the meal!!

On the way to the restaurant               The drunks in Paris!                           Kitchen was closed here i think

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Apparently i ordered the salmon which i NEVER do, i like fish but there's usually something on the menu that id rather have. I'm also told that Kami got up to go to the bathroom and asked me to order for her! i don't think she was expecting steak and fois grois when she returned! The only thing i can think of is that as Wendy ordered the salmon and i was in no fit state to talk let alone read i just said id have what she was having! how on earth i decided on Kami’s food I'll never know but there's a lot of things that happened that I'll never know!

We headed back to the apartment around midnight I've been told and the next morning i was looking through my camera and found id taken lots of pictures from last night and even a 60 second  video of Chris struggling to open the apartment door!!

No wall is safe from Kami!            On the way back (i think!)

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Wendy trying to get in the door!                   I only had one glass, bottle!!

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Kami and i crashed on the pullout sofa in the apartment and woke around 10am, there's a funny story about what happened in the night but I'm not gonna publish it in public, feel free to email me if you'd like to know though:) and believe me Wendy certainly saw me drunk and we laughed about it for the next 4 days!!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for helping me relive one of the funniest nights of my life! Glad you could piece most of it together... though - that shot of Kami, Chris and I ('On the way back (i think!') That was heading OUT to dinner. Notice the roadie Hoegaardens in our hands! ;0)