Friday, August 23, 2013

Sugar and Bones

Official honeymoon food

day 42, Macaroon Monday
by shana

Monday started with waking up bright and early, ready to start our day. But replace "bright and early" with "hitting snooze on our alarms about 6 times while laughing at our attempt to wake up early". Our first stop for the day was a highly recommended macaroon shop (thanks Alex!) called Pierre Hermé. Holy crap. Our first Paris macaroons may have well just been spoonfuls of dirt compared to Pierre Hermé's. We got a box of seven macaroons and the flavors we picked were chocolate, raspberry, salted caramel (x2), apricot pistachio, passion fruit and the most delicious thing (besides the Amelie creme brûlée) to touch my tongue... jasmine. If I could eat a jasmine macaroon from Pierre Hermé every second, of every day I most certainly would. We walked to a nearby bench and ate some macaroons while staring at a pretty fountain.
We decided to walk around for a few hours window shopping and sight seeing. We ended up at Le Deux Magots; a nice sidewalk cafe and another Alex recommendation. We ordered cappuccinos and people watched for about an hour or so. People watching in Paris is fantastic. There's a great combination of locals and visitors which makes for an interesting time.
After the cafe we strolled towards Rue Cler, a popular street full of delicious food options. We had our hearts set on finding some savory crepes for our Eiffel Tower Picnic; Part Deux and we were in luck. We found a street vendor and forked over our money. My crepe was ok, but Jerrad's was incredible. He decided to get "The Special" and it was definitely special. It was feta, egg, tomato, onion, green pepper, salt, pepper and more cheese rolled into a delicious crepe. Not only was it delicious, it was about 10 euro cheaper than any option from a restaurant. Win/win.
We finished our crepes on our walk to the Eiffel Tower (we couldn't hold off on eating them any more) and set up shop in some shade. We sipped on wine and nibbled on Le Pringlez while occasionally handing a chip to tiny birdies. I hope none of their stomachs bursted later. At one point I was laying on Jerrad, playing Candy Bean Game while he was feeding me chips; it was the good life. After our picnic we headed back home for an early night since we actually were going to wake up early the next day.

Day 43, Gotta have you on my wall. Gotta have you on my wall 'cause...
by Jerrad

We woke up early. Yea, that's right. We finally did it. It only took the promise of being able to witness thousands of human remains stacked into piles hundreds of feet underground to do so... I don't know what that means, but I know it got us up hours earlier than usual. The plan for the morning was to see the catacombs. We had also done our research and found out that if you don't get there early you'll spend your whole day in line just waiting to get in. We threw cold bubble coffee (aka Coke Light) down our gullets and we were off. 
We arrived around 8:40am to take our place in line. The gates to bone city didn't open until 10:00am and there was already a line. There were roughly seventy five people in front of us who also did their research. As we waited patiently the line behind us grew and grew. It was funny to see peoples' reactions to the line that had formed. The line had stretched down the street, around the block, and ended right around where the beginning of the line started. Once ten o'clock hit the flood gates opened and the masses of people... stood in the exact same spot they had been for hours. The catacombs slowly let people trickle in and they only let two hundred people in at any time. I could only imagine the madness if they did it any differently. We didn't end up entering the place until 10:30am. We purchased our tickets and descended down the spiral stairs. Down and down and round and round. The decent was almost enough to make you dizzy, trip on the stairs, and flop down on the bottom. I'm guessing this happens all the time because there's a guy at the bottom who's sole purpose is to clean up the mess (aka throw the new corpse behind the old corpses).
After getting to the bottom we walked the small tunnel-ways with plaques on the history of underground Paris. There were plaques describing the stones/fossils/shells and everything about the place except for the bones. We walked for about 30 minutes weaving and ducking around the claustrophobic veins of the tunnel system until we came to the burial grounds portion. It was absolutely mind blowing seeing all the bones stacked on top of each other five feet high for as far as the eye could see. The story behind the place was that Paris had became overcrowded and there was no more room to bury their dead. If you didn't have any money and died, you were thrown into a mass burial pit. As these became more and more crowded they had to un-bury old pits, remove the bones to make room for new ones and fill them back up with the newly deceased. Unfortunately the graves were also very shallow. It was so bad that when it rained, sometimes the dirt would wash away revealing the dead bodies. The city's well water and air became contaminated. In an effort to clean up the city they had found old stone quarries underground that were no longer of use. It took two years to move the six million bones of the deceased to their new resting grounds. They would take the bones at night, say a prayer along the way and dump the bones in the underground tunnels. 
Now technically this isn't a true catacomb because in a catacomb you can identify the bodies of the individuals, and in this place the bones were all mixed together. As we walked the hallowed paths I realized that there were only femurs and skulls. I had yet to see any other type of bone. They also made designs with the bones (see photos). I accidentally slipped and palmed a human skull to catch my balance. I may have in that instant cursed myself. You were, by no means, to touch the bones. Especially the skulls. If you see that Shana is writing all of the posts and I've just been photoshopped in all pictures after today, tell my family I love them. After having our fill we walked up the steep winding staircase that exited to the street. The gift shop was directly across the street. Before we were able to leave a man asked to see our bags. He was checking to see if we stole any bones. I'm guessing enough people stole bones for that guy to have a job. We decided to check out the gift shop and realized that the guy was checking for bones in people's bags NOT because it was disrespectful to take them, but because it was dis-respectful to take them for free. They were giving them away in the gift shop in exchange for money along with bone jewelry, bedazzled human skull chalices, I heart skeleton vodka, bone brushes, and skeleton flavored rock candy*. All that walking made us hungry and not even the bones of thousands of humans could steal our appetites. We walked around until we found a place that sold chocolate eclairs. Shana checked off another French food bucket list item (eclair) and we hurried back home to semi pack and get ready for the night.     
For our last night we decided to do something different and by different I mean the same thing we always do. We had picked up some dinner picnic items earlier and we were off to the Eiffel Tower for our last meal in Paris. Our meal consisted of warm bread, pepper garlic cheese, and wine. After watching the sunset whilst drinking vin and eating pain et fromage we stood in line to go up the eiffel tower.
As we waited in line at the bottom we looked in the sky and realized the moon was full. Some how we timed it perfectly. We made it to the top of the tower for the full moon. At midnight I turned into the werwolf from Thriller. Since there was no place to run the people joined in and we all danced in perfect unison. Once we all stopped I made sure everyone was real real tired and trusting. That's when I ran around and feasted upon their flesh. That catacombs curse is no joke. The clean up crew had done their job and let us down the 2nd floor. There was a very long line to take the elevator down to the bottom so Shana and I decided to take the stairs. I counted and it was a mere seven hundred and one steps from the ground to the second level (give or take). We walked hand in hand through the quiet streets, soaking in all we could in our last night in Paris. The next day we'd be in Bordeaux.

*The gift shop did not sell the remains the catacombs inhabitants, but the actual merchandise was pretty disrespectful so they might as well have been.

My first french eclair

Pierre Herme ❤

Macaroon Fountain®

I match my macaroons to my lipstick


Some kid chasing pigeons

Les Deux Magots

















Notre Dame

Interesting detail




2 comments:

  1. Eclair........I want dat.

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  2. Jasmine macaroon........ I want dat! And eclairs, cheese and picnics. This has got to be the longest honeymoon on record. You 2 should be on a tv show. This is like reading a good book as it happens. Have fun in Bordeaux! ps...looking good y'all!

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