Last day in Paris! Still so much to do! We got an early start this morning and headed the the Catacombs. I waited in line while rusty went and found breakfast. He came back with the best croissants in Paris. And éclairs. And strawberries. The croissants were so good that I made him run back and get more. They were gone before I could snap a picture.
What a morbid and interesting place the Catacombs are! In the late 18th century, Paris cemeteries were overcrowded and unsanitary. So, in order to fix this problem, bones from about 6 million people were carted down to old limestone mines. The bones are arranged along about a mile corridor and are marked with signs from the cemetery from which they were taken. It was interesting to think about the lives of these people—who were they? What did they accomplish in their lives? And sad to think that their bones ended up unmarked in a underground corridor.
After being surrounded by darkness and death, we were ready for a little light and life! Off to St. Sulpice we went. Some of you might recognize that name from the Da Vinci Code. This is the church that contains the Rose Line that was supposed to lead to the Holy Grail. It was interesting to see the line, and learn that it was really used for determining when Easter should fall every year. But, Da Vinci Code lore is not why we were here. St. Sulpice is home to one of the largest organs in the world, and has a master organ player who gives a concert every Sunday after Mass. It was AMAZING. I had often remarked to Rusty during our trip that it was hard for me to feel God in the churches that we visited. I did not feel that way today. Sitting, hearing that organ fill up the massive, beautiful, old church was certainly a spiritual experience.
Montmartre was next. I have to say, I was a little disappointed. After knowing how cool Montmartre used to be with Hemmingway, Picasso, Monet, Dali, Stein all living and working there, the dirty, touristy overcrowded, unimaginative streets were a let down. It felt like being in Chinatown in NYC. But I tried to catch the spirit and be thankful for all the innovation that came from this place. Sometimes I think it’s sad that in our effort to see and remember the past, we often ruin what what so special about it in the first place.
Sacre Coeur was beautiful set up on the hill, but the many people selling chintzy souvenirs and the Michael Jackson music blaring from some very loud speakers made it hard to feel like this was a sacred place. We did love the views of Paris.
At this point we were pretty darn tired, but had a few hours before catching Eurostar back to London. Off to Musee d’Orsay we went! I absolutely loved this museum and wish we had more time to explore. Van Gough! Matisse! Monet! Degas! It was simply fabulous. The museum is in an old train station, which added to the fun ambiance.
Leaving Paris was bittersweet. I know I want to come back here again someday, but we were excited for WIMBLEDON the next morning!