“Though I often looked for one, I finally had to admit that there could be no cure for Paris.” – Paula McLain, The Paris Wife
Bienvenue les amies. C’est moi, Joella. This week was action packed compared to last week because I had more time to go out and explore more of Paris. And, I don’t know if you have noticed, by my other blogs, but I am smitten by this city and I don’t think I want a cure. To end my week, I visited, the Catacombs of Paris, Galeries Lafayette, Place de la Concorde, and Place Vendôme, L’Opera Garnier, L’église de la Madeleine and all these places had me shook.
This week my culture class visited The Catacombs of Paris. The catacombs are underground graves with lots of tunnels and it holds over 6 million people😯😱. It holds remains from other cemeteries including Saints-Innocents, Saint-Étienne-des-Grès, Madeleine Cemetery, Errancis Cemetery, and Notre-Dame-des-Blancs-Manteaux. The Cemetery of the Saints-Innocents had been in use for nearly ten centuries but had become a source of infection for the locals. So, after numerous complaints, the Council of State decided to prohibit further use of the cemetery and to remove its contents. Public visits to the catacombs began after it was renovated into a proper ossuary during the early 1800s. I honestly don’t know how to describe my visit to the catacombs. I’ve seen bones before but they were fake ones that we used in lab to learn anatomy 😭. Seeing real bones and skulls of real people left me speechless. The idea of turning bones into art seemed cool before the visit and it was interesting to see how the artist transformed all the bones but it was lowkey scary. To calm myself, I tried thinking of it as all those people died but now they’re bodies bring Paris to life as people come far and wide travel to see the Catacombs.
On the entrance of the museum part of the catacombs there is a sign that reads, “Arrète! C’est ici l’empire de la mort” #freaky. But you know what wasn’t freaky? Going to Galeries Lafayette, that was like heaven, I almost cried while walking in. Galeries Layfayette is a luxury good “department” store in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, though it operates in other parts of France. It is almost like a mall because it contains several different high-end brands including Armani, Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Guess, just to name a few, but there were so many more. And I wanted to buy everything but I heard that being in debt is not fun so when I saw a pair of cute boots that were 804 €, they suddenly weren’t that cute anymore. The same goes for Place Vendôme, there were several high-end stores displaying beauty jewelry and I almost cried again, but not because the jewelry was beautiful (it was) but because not having money isn’t fun and being is debt is not a thing I want to do 😭#thestruggles. Place Vendôme is a square in the 1st arrondissement of Paris and in the center of the square is the Vendôme Column that was proposed by Napoleon I to commemorate the Battle of Austerlitz. It was all very aesthetically pleasing, especially the Hôtel Ritz Paris. I went inside to see and a tear actually left my eye. Hôtel Ritz Paris is ranked among the most luxurious hotels IN THE WORLD and is a member of “The Leading Hotels of the World”…sighs.
Well, we’ve come to the end of this journal and we all know what that means…the secrets to being French. Today’s secret to being French is *drum roll* knowing French politics. I mentioned in a different blog that the French love to argue and discuss everything but the top topic of discussion is politics. Being able to discuss politics, intelligently, is another important key to being French. My culture professor told my class that even children in elementary school talk about politics! Alright, for the French word of the day: inoubliable meaning unforgettable.
That’s it for now, until next time, xoxo Joella.