Sunday, July 12, 2009

Catacombs and Rodin. And more food of course

On the 9th, we tried the catacombs again.  but first we visited the Blvd. Richard Lenior open air market in the morning at the Bastille square. (The bastille isn't there any more, it was torn down in all the hulaballoo two hundred years ago).  When we got to the catacombs just after it opened, there was already an hour long wait to get in.  So we hunkered down and waited.  The catacombs were originally mining tunnels in the outskirts of Paris.  Sometime in the 18 hundreds, there was no more room to bury people in the city, so they started unearthing mass graves and sections of cemetaries to make room. The bones were carried by monks into the tunnels and stacked as much as 80 feet deep in the corridors.  Each section was labeled with date moved and origin.  When we got down, there was a little walk before the ossiary part.  Once there, we had to hold hands despite the plethora of people down there.  The bones were arrayed behind walls built of femurs and decorated with skulls.  It was hard to imagine all the thousands (millions?) of people whose bones we saw.  Very humbling.  I don't know if I've even seen human bones before in real life.

After we got out and dusted off the creepies, we hopped a metro up towards the river and had lunch at a neo bistro recommended again by Clothilde, Pre Verre.  They had a nice set lunch menu for 13 euros with two dishes and a glass of wine.  Pretty yummy.  Amanda actually enjoyed the wine.  We'll have to watch out for her. . .

Post lunch, we stopped by the roman baths outside the Cluny museum, and had a nutella crepe from a roadside stand.  We wandered through the left bank, stopping at pastry shops and chocolate store intermittently to the invalides area.  The Rodin museum is in a house he used to live in and surrounded by beautiful gardens littered with sculptures.  We decided we really like sculpture.  It's so expressive and Rodin's style imparts so much life into the forms.  In fashion eyes, it's like shoes while paintings are like clothes.  We still don't quite understand the bronze casting process (how do they mechanially enlarge them?) but approve anyhow.  In the gardens, we enjoyed our chocolated from Patrick Roger, even though their store was very intimidating.

We walked Rue Cler, which is an upscale foodie street with shops for honey, olive oil, cheese, fish, charcuterie, butchers, and produce.  We bought some cheese, a Rebuchon and a Sa__chon for a later picnic on the Champ de Mars.  We ate cheese on baguette under the eiffel tower, taking amusing pictures at intervals.  The S. cheese was amazing.  Kind of like a firmer camembert, but a little more pungent.  The R. cheese was very pungent.  On a scale of one to pungent, I'd say it was about 13.  Pungacity: high.  The inside resembles brie in taste and texture, but the rind imparted a little cow-flavored funk to it.  Oh lovely.  

By this point, we were pretty sleepy, so we went home a little early.

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