Sunday, July 12, 2009

Day Six

Sunday morning Caroline and Elena elected to sleep in and attend mass at Notre Dame. Elena reported that the mass was amazing and that everything was said in French. They had a lovely, chilled-out morning.

Below, Elena poses in the Eiffel tower park, waiting for Shalyn and I to meet up with them for lunch. We kept them waiting for an hour. Sorry guys!!!

Whilst the girls where at church praying, Shalyn and I had a different sort of day planned. The Day of the Dead! We actually didn't call it that, but really, that's what our day was about. Our first stop was the Pere-Lachaise cemetery. It was the most convoluted, confusing and spectacular cemetery ever. There's a reason it's the most most visited one in the world.

Above, Shalyn searches for Marcel Proust's grave. We found it (below)! No thanks to Rick Steves, though. He gets a big FAIL for his walking tour map for Pere-Lachaise. I love him, but his little "hand drawn" maps can be misleading.

Pictured above, Shalyn fake kisses Oscar Wilde's grave. I don't know when it started, but women have been leaving lipstick kisses on his grave for years. Shalyn thought it was unsanitary (and I wasn't wearing lipstick), so no kiss marks from us.

Pere-Lachaise also reminded us of another famous cemetery. Yes, that would be Sunnydale cemetery - Buffy would have been plenty busy in this place, so we decided to give her a bit of tribute. I wonder if their set designer modeled the show's crypts on this cemetery?

It was eerie, mossy, and fantastic. I can only imagine this place at night. Many of the tombs were works of art. We began our tour at the back of the cemetery and worked our way forward - you can see the tombs and gravestones age as you walk.

We were the most excited about visiting Abelard and Heloise's grave. The world's most famous lovers, covered in scaffolding. Meh.

After our tour of the cemetary, we hopped on the metro and made our way to Montparnasse to tour the Catacombs! And almost walked by the entrance, since it is as understated as it gets - it looks like a parks department bathroom facility to be perfectly frank.

There is nothing understated about this 1 mile subterranian walk, however. Believe you me, they practically beat you over the head with a thigh bone reminding you that you are walking amongst the dead.

Shalyn and I had heard many fascinating things about the Paris Catacombs and we considered this one of our "non-negotiables" for the trip. We were going to see this place. I was actually pretty shocked at my reaction to the bones, which was pretty much pure horror.

Surely, I had more backbone? Nope. Below, Shalyn is posing with an "afraid" face. It wasn't too far from what we actually looked like.

And we were stuck. There's no getting out. We just had to walk it and hope no "death juice" (as Elena called it) fell on our heads. I just couldn't stop thinking that these were once alive, happy/sad people.

Okay, now for some background on the catacombs. They were begun towards the end of the 18th century as a way to solve the overcrowding/sanitation problem in the above-ground cemeteries. I noticed as we were walking that there were a number of bone piles attributed to Les Innocents cemetery. In my mind, they were poor orphaned children who died, hence, Les Innocents - which made me feel like a ghoul for gawking at their remains. I learned later, that it was just the name of Paris' largest cemetery and that I have an overactive imagination.

Almost two weeks later, I am actually really glad I went. It was a singular experience and Shalyn and I will mine endless stories from our visit, but I don't think I will go back down there ever, ever again.

As we were making our way to the park grounds by the Eiffel tower, Shalyn and I came across this upset little lady who had been taking MJ's death pretty hard. She walked in front of us for about a quater mile and simply raised her Michael Jackson flag towards passersby. I think she was trying to find others to commiserate with?

The four of us, happy to be together again, celebrated with a wonderful lunch followed by pastries!

Which was followed by our tour of the Pompidou Centre! I love modern art. Love, love, love it. So I was very excited to see what was in store.

There are always so many surprises! That is not always something you can get from, say, the neo classical paintings at the Louvre. They always adhear to some similar format - with modern art, anything is possible. Like a "hole" in the ceiling of the museum (below).

Or an exhibition of the Guerrilla Girls.

Or Niki de Saint Phalle. All I had ever seen of her work, were these huge outdoor sculptures at the botanical gardens in St. Louis - so it was neat to see something else - although still on her large scale.

Take a look at these guys (below)! They were watching a film of a naked woman hoola hooping barbed wire. It was pretty awful actually, as you could see the injury to her skin increase as the film continued. No photo of the film, as this blog is rated "G".

Again, you never know what to expect. Meat dresses, mummified birds and this fun piece where you could stand on a film playing about nothing and everything.

This (below) was my favorite piece of artwork from the museum. I guess I am more of a traditionalist that I thought.

The "modernity" continued outside. This fellow was performing James Brown's "I feel Good" in a barely recognizable form - between a horse and a male puppet. Yikes.

Caroline and I retired to the hotel in order to rest and relax and then take silly photos of ourselves. Below, Caroline leans out her hotel window to wave at me. Her room was directly above mine.

Elena and Shalyn enjoyed an evening walk on the Seine. I believe that is the Trocadero in the background behind Shalyn in the photo below.

I've heard that the French make the best ice cream (along with everything else - ha!). I don't think our experiences have offered up anything to the contrary.

Absolutely gorgeous.


hellocayce said...

I haven't been to blogger in FOREVER and I just read all your posts at once. AWESOME! I think one of my favorite pics was the one of the spiral staircase.

lucylucia said...

Thanks Cayce! I missed you in blogland - glad you're starting to post again. :)

Julia said...

I loved that you were able to bring a bit of Sunnydale to France on your Day of the Dead trip.

lucylucia said...

How could you not?! The Buffster would be all over that graveyard.