Getting Our Bearings in Paris - Day 1

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September 26th 2019
Published: October 3rd 2019
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Brian needed his coffee first thing!
We arrived early and waited in a line at Border Control for just a bit. Could have been worse and there was no follow-up customs interviews. Much less than Australia. We found a bus that would take us to the Gare Montparnasse train station close to our hotel. Very roomy, not crowded, and easier/cheaper than an Uber/Taxi. It was supposed to be a little over an hour trip but the Paris rush hour traffic was horrific and we spent over two hours in it. There must have been accidents all over as we saw 20-30 police, ambulances and what not shooting by. We got very acquainted with the Neeee-Neer-Neee-Neer sounds of their sirens. Brian managed to grab a few ZZZs in the midst of it all. We were dropped off at the train station which was very close to the Hotel Orchidee where we are staying for the next 5 days. We dropped our luggage there, freshened up a bit and set off to explore the area. We were a little short of energy due to little sleep so the first thing Brian did was find a cafe to get a double espresso. Fortified, we soldiered onto the Catacombs of Paris

First section. We didn’t realize how many there would be.
which is in our “Arrondissement” or Neighborhood of Montparnasse. The line was long as only 200 can go into the tunnels at a time and those with reserved timed tickets go first. We waited about an hour and got rained on a bit. We will soon find that our travel umbrella is our best friend.

The Catacombs was originally quarry tunnels that were later used starting in the 1780s to relocate bones from various overflowing Paris Cemeteries. This was to free up space for Parisian development and for health reasons. Over 6 million bones are preserved here. The latest were moved in 2015. As you can see from the pictures, the ones who arranged them had an artistic spirit. How about that for a job?! If you are claustrophobic, this is not the tour for you. Brian’s head scraped the ceiling in a few places. We emerged quite a ways from where we entered and explored the neighborhood as we headed back to the hotel.

We checked and discovered our room was an oven. Turns out they just “switched over” from AC to Heat for the years as the nights had turned cool. The staff advised us to

Brian smiling amidst the skulls
just “open the window and you’ll be cool”. They neglected to warn us that motorcycles speed under our window, along with skateboarders (surprisingly noisy!), and mystery loud metallic crashes at all hours. We only had a very hot duvet cover so we alternated between getting jolted awake and roasting. The lack of sleep will become a theme. Stay tuned.

Additional photos below
Photos: 11, Displayed: 11



Hard to find a respectful pose. When you start thinking of all the people’s remains around you, it gets weird.

So you can get a sense of the tunnel...

They just keep on going....

Artistic flair with skulls and leg bones

Looks like a huge basket of skulls and bones.

These skulls are less scary..and they open bottles!

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