Today I forced myself to go see some other sights, even though it was freezing outside and after yesterday's general sentiments, have no motivation to be reminded what I can't have in Paris. Maybe that's why the first stop I found myself at was the catacombs.
I paid my 4 Euros and descended into the depths of Paris. For those of you that don't know, the catacombs are essentially a massive cemetery that extends for kilometres in every direction--right underneath the streets of Paris. You head down into a dimly lit tunnel with musty stone walls and walk about 500 m until you reach the first part. Doing that alone is a little more than unnerving, let me tell you. All the side passages are barred off and dark; it's deathly still (pun intended) for the most part, but every sound you do hear makes you jump a little. It felt like a really well put-on haunted house!
Then I got to the bones. Oh yeah, these aren't nicely laid out tombstones; they are stacks of human bones lining the passageways. To deal with overcrowding in cemeteries during the 18th century, people started getting buried in these passages, since you could shove more bodies together, thus saving space. Pretty morbid, but the organization is impressive--all similarly shaped bones are stacked together, separated by rows of skulls (for support? Who knows, I definitely did not come up with this idea).
After the catacombs, I meandered over to Notre Dame to take a look at some gargoyles. (The last time I was here, I had cut my foot really badly in India just prior, and couldn't walk. All I remember is my mom piggybacking me around Paris, and in particular, up the tower of Notre Dame so I could see the little creatures protruding from the stone facade. Thanks mom!)
It was nice, and in some ways reminded me of Gaudi's work, but traditional--his is warped, versus the classic medieval lines seen here. I could just imagine what it must've been like when this church was the centre of religious life in Paris--it's pretty impressive, the details that went into its construction.
Next stop was the Champs d'Elyses, the world's biggest...roundabout? I'm not sure of the significance, since I refused to pay to go to the top of a tall structure and look out over another city. But I got my photos! And saw some breakdancing in the meantime, so it wasn't a total waste of time.
Lastly, I made my way over to the Piece de Resistance, the Eiffel Tower. Also known as the giant asparagus by non-impressed Parisians, the tower was originally supposed to be covered, but someone quashed that idea and now we have what it looks like today. It's impressive and blah blah blah but I'm gonna go ahead and bet that lying on the grass solo is not as much fun as with your sweetheart. I was getting bored and frozen so I waited just until the tower sparkled at sunset (they do something cool with the lights) and got the heck outta there. One can only stare at a giant asparagus for so long!
Another thing that was disappointing was my quest to cook at Le Cordon Bleu was quashed...I emailed them last week enquiring about a tour or one of the many day classes they offer...but everything was full, for every single day I could possibly be in Paris. I guess it's not meant to be, but still! Frustrating.
So it turns out Paris is not like Carrie's version in Sex and the City. This city is dangling a carrot in front of my nose--I can see what my visit COULD entail, if I was on my honeymoon, or in 15 years when I have a ton of money, spending extravagantly on nice restaurants, shopping, and fancy hotels, but nearing the end of my four month travels, that is not in the cards for BackpackKat. I did not get a suite at the Four Seasons, nor did I gallivant around town wearing a $20,000 dress. No trans-atlantic professions of love. I wore jeans and sneakers. I ate at McDonald's. I saw the sights. And I can't wait to leave.
Tomorrow I am going to MUNICH for Oktoberfest! I'm so excited to see all my german friends, I think there's 25 of us from all over Germany meeting up this weekend? It's gonna be epic. Au revoir, soul-sucking Paris! Time to become German!