Thursday, December 31, 2015

Paris Catacombs: 6 million bodies

Really the only LONG line we had to wait in during our visit (thanks to all those fast past pay in advance options...which we loved!) But despite the wait (3 hours ugh,) the Catacombs gave us an entirely new view of this mysterious city--from underground! Such a respite out the 100+ weather, we enter and pay our fee, instantly cooled by the ancient, icy air from below.  This Labyrinth, 20 meters below the heart of Paris, is a maze of dark curves and turns. The passage: "ArrĂȘte, c'est ici l'empire de la mort" [Halt, this is the realm of Death ] above the entrance sends a chill all around. We wound through the narrow passages, separated from any other visitors, a solitary and spooky shadow falls upon us. We pass skull upon skull, over six million to be exact, and the numbers unnerve us. The bones are stacked for space, yet set in an aesthetic design as well and occasionally, we forget they were once humans, each with their own story to tell. These bones, transferred between the late 1700s-mid 1800s, mostly originated in graveyards that were closed as risks to public health. These tombs, now filled with the memories of these lost souls, were once sediment accumulated from an ancient tropical seabed. The deposits formed into limestone and were later mined away, transforming these endless underground passages into the country's largest unknown cemetery. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Musee de Orsay: the Power of Art

Musee de Orsay. Impressionists!

Standing with the man himself 

Always have and always will be in love with Van Gogh's work. To see so many pieces in person was heaven! Oh how I wish for a time machine to take me back just for a minute or two to watch this master at work in Monmarte..

And Degas...

These three artists first left their mark on me while studying graphic design at Cal State Long Beach  (the first major I declared...only to be changed 3 more times) When I see the actual work--something more real happens, something that reminds me of greatness and the power artist have to impact the world. And I am thankful.

To complete our day of art, we must add a lock with our names to the Bridge de Orsay. It is a magical moment where our memory of this amazing city is forever locked away--now a piece of it too.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Eiffel Tower--the Grandeur of the City

Beat some of the crowds at the Eiffel Tower early morning. Take the lifts all the way and Paris opens up like grand performance below our feet. It is a place to kiss and place to wonder and a place to admire of the grandeur of the city...

Eiffel himself at the top!

She eats the Eiffel Tower 

Because we had to 

Worked up a real big appetite! Baguettes, baguettes, baguettes!

The Louvre in all its Glory

The Louvre. Hard to step into such an quintessential museum without high expectations. We traversed across the floors, the time periods and genres to find a few gems that we'd been waiting for...

The Mona Lisa is something special alright. The impact of Leonardo's image makes you curious. Obsessed almost to know  what she has behind her smile and why and how this woman's portrait became the landmark it is today. This statue of the winged goddess of victory (also known as the Nike of Samothrace), discovered in 1863 in a temple on the island of Samothrace in the northern Aegean Sea--an offering to the gods of the island after a victory at sea. Lastly, Venus de Milo--Aphrodite in her glory still an astounding and commanding presence as she stands above us. 

Egyptian Bliss 

Life-giving vents of cool air!

Notre Dame and Pigeons in Paris

We take the motorized bicycle carts from Museo de Orsay to Notre Dame. There, we are greeted by the pigeons and their caretaker. Nova has the touch (and becomes their perch!) The gothic architecture is surreal and you can almost imagine the Hunchback walking towers, carefully guarded by gargoyles and goblins.

Andrea brings joy to Nova: a huge merengue!

The beautiful Seine 

Pigeons in Paris