Mom and I arrived in Paris on Monday!
We got to our AirBnB lodging, which is très mignon. The grey couch in the living area pulls out into a bed, and I’ve commandeered the loft bed up those stairs.
There is a kitchen, so we’ve shared some meals here at the apartment. The rooms for the shower and toilet are small by American standards, but not by European standards. The toilet is down the hall by the front door, which is pretty normal for Europe too. I love those idiosyncracies…
On the 22nd, we started our day at Père Lachaise cemetery. It is where Jim Morrison was buried, among many, many other famous artists, musicians, politicians, etc… I first went to Père Lachaise when I traveled here in 2005. I really like the artistry that goes into some of the head stones. It really is a city of the dead, but one where death is celebrated, or at least embraced, instead of mourned.
While we were walking, we saw processions for at least a couple of funerals that were going on that day. Death rests for no one it seems.
The next day we went to the Catacombes. This is a graveyard of a different sort. It’s a literal boneyard of skeletons moved from their initial burial places because the graveyards were getting to be unsanitary (from what I understand). Instead of the park-like feel Père Lachaise has, the Catacombes are darker. You climb down, down, down. The bones were moved to an old quarry. It is dark and dimly lit. And there are millions of bones down there.
I expected to have strong emotions about exploring the Catacombes, but I didn’t. Instead, I got that same sort of sense of death being a part of life that I get when I walk through Père Lachaise. The Catacombes are a bit more grim, but the quotes that are inscribed vary in if they contribute to that feel. Some are dark and some are … well … c’est comme ça! Life is that way. We should celebrate it while we are in it, because some day it will end and we’ll be something else instead.
So on this Christmas Eve I leave you with pictures of dead things and that message. (Hey, I never claimed to be normal.) Some might think it’s a bit depressing, but I disagree.
Bonne fête! Enjoy your time with your family. Enjoy whatever it is you choose to do this holiday. Enjoy life!
C’est tout pour maintenant. Joie de vivre! (= living daringly en français!)