Day 3 – Catacombs, Eiffel Tower, and the Arc du Triumphe

    Ramblin' Wedells

    Day 3 - Catacombs, Eiffel Tower, and the Arc du Triumphe

    This morning we grabbed some bread and pastries from a nearby bakery (yum!) and began walking to the entrance to the French catacombs (about a 45 minute walk). We got there about 15 minutes after they opened and already a huge line had formed. We had to wait in line for about 45 minutes but it was totally worth it. The catacombs are abandoned stone quarries converted into an ossuary which now holds the remains of about 6 million Parisians. This came about because the cities cemeteries had become overcrowded. The first solution was the formation of a central mass burial ground. As other churches adopted the idea of mass burial the city became totally saturated with bodies to the point that it was unsanitary and unsafe. Eventually cemeteries within the city limits were condemned and new cemeteries were built on the outskirts of town. The problem of what to do with the bodies was solved when the Police Lieutenant General who had been renovating the quarries had the idea to transfer all of the remains down into the existing quarries. It was incredibly eerie to walk down tunnel after tunnel lined with stacks of carefully stacked femurs, skulls, and tibias. Not to mention the cold, dark, and damp. It took us about an hour and a half to meander through the tunnels and by the end we were happy to see the daylight!
    Next, we took the train to the Eiffel tower. We weren’t able to go up to the top as we had planned since it was closed because of the wind, but it was still a great view from the ground.
    After, we traveled to the arch du triumphe, which was also pretty magnificent.
    We went out for dinner at a French restaurant near our hotel, where the waitress brought both of us something different from what we ordered but it turned out well anyway. Jon ended up with a wonderful 4 cheese salad as well as some mussels while I had a vegetable salad (with haricot verts). For dessert I had fromage (cheese which basically tasted like yogurt) and Jon had a baked custard dish.
    After dinner we walked to the tower Montparnasse, where we ascended 59 floors to get a stunning 360 degree view of the night sky.

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