rebness: (Famille)

Aww, this time yesterday I was wandering through the Musee d'Orsay with [ profile] wickedmanifesto. Today, there's no Toulouse-Lautrec but I've been reading a really funny story in The Guardian about how France is apparently America's Major Ally now. Everyone's spitting feathers but it seems to be that I'd rather have a friend who would tell me when I was doing something foolish rather than one who went along with absolutely everything. I still think Sarkozy's a prick, though.

Anyway, I really enjoyed Paris. I just love getting dressed up to go there and -- I know a lot of women hate it but bear with me -- the attention I got really was an ego boost. I've lost a lot of weight in the last six months and to just be dressed up in my nice new slimmer!clothes was lovely. I can't wait to go back there - in all of two weeks! It'll be great to just wander around and take in all that beauty and life. This city is like an injection of seretonin to me; nice to feel the dull grey of January fade away so easily.

Unfortunately, my camera wasn't working properly and I didn't manage to get a replacement memory card until I was at the airport last night. [ profile] wickedmanifesto took some great photographs though, so shall post some here once she uploads them. :D 

'Allo 'allo

Dec. 1st, 2010 06:13 pm
rebness: (Liberty)
I've considered the world and then some for my upcoming (ohgodwhy) 30th birthday in January. I was thinking of South America, or some far-flung Eastern bloc destination on Ryanair's loco flight list but instead opted for... Paris.

Ah, Paris. My first travel love. It's familiar and beautiful and I don't feel obliged to rush around seeing the monuments for the thousandth time, so it's all good. I'm even thinking -- here my twenty-year old self chokes with disgust -- of visiting Disneyland whilst I'm there.

To quote Kevin Spacey in Swimming With Sharks:

Look, it's like they say, if you're not a rebel by the age of 20, you got no heart, but if you haven't turned establishment by 30, you've got no brains.

Anyway, that's a short time away. I am still young and smooth-skinned and in my twenties, so let's turn to stuff I was reading up on Paris today while bored at work. See, one mistake I made when I first visited as a fresh(er)-faced twenty-year-old was to try and find Les Innocents graveyard (I was stanning Armand at the time) . Well, it doesn't exist anymore. Er, hasn't since the 1700s. Who knew! Today I idly wondered where the old site of the graveyard was and found it was at Les Halles. But! Look at this history:

Les Innocents burials rose in number with the religious fervour of the early 13th century. The doctrine of the time tended towards fire and brimstone, which was all the better to increase the flow of the defunct faithful into consecrated church property accompanied by a sizable burial fee.

The church's income from Les Innocents must have been enormous, as they pointedly ignored the sanitary problems their cemetery created. Their coffers were overflowing with the product of the enormous burial rate, but unfortunately, so was the earth; the skeletons of decomposed cadavers went to the charniers, but their fatty residues remained in the earth. The plague of 1418 poured 50,000 dead into Les Innocents over a five-week period, and the hundred-years war brought more. The air of central Paris must have been already putrid then.

In spite of this, the church insisted on the "flesh-eating" quality of Les Innocent's soil, which "justified" their burying a body for only a few weeks before moving it to the charniers. A funeral was almost a parody then: the defunct would be placed in a coffin over the pit for the duration of the ceremony, after which he would be dropped through its trap door bottom. Other stories tell of gravediggers who, after a day of funeral ceremonies, dismembered any cadavers and sent their torsos only into the pit below, which made yet more room for more burials; the resulting pile of arms and legs were burned, and their bones went directly to the charniers. Les Innocents was already saturated by then as well as the many other churches in Paris, but the clergy's power over both the commoners and the nobility assured the continuation of these unsanitary practices until well into the 18th century.

By the late 17th century, the ground of Les Innocents had become a greasy mound incapable of decomposition, and the residents of the Les Halles quarter were a constant source of complaints. The Crown made many attempts to coerce the clergy into halting or slowing burials in overcrowded church cemeteries, but to no avail. The only modification the church would make was a rise in the price of their funeral services.


The act that closed the fate of the Parisian cemeteries came after a prolonged period of rain in springtime of 1780. On the 30th of May, a cellar wall in a property bordering Les Innocents gave way under the weight of excess burials and humidity, spilling a mess of decomposed bodies and infected mud into the room. The building was evacuated until repairs could be made; but even the thickest masonry over the cellar wall couldn't keep them from sweating a substance that smelled of the rotting flesh that had filled the cemetery since a thousand years.

Fantastic! I love you, Paris omg


Jul. 20th, 2004 04:59 pm
rebness: (Default)

Dude! Will somebody please reassure me that I'm not the only person in the world who didn't realise that Nicolas Flamel of Philosopher Stoneness actually existed?

If not, do you lose respect for me in learning that I was reading The Hunchback of Notre Dame and was all, "yeah! Victor has a cool character called Flamel as...oh."

And if that doesn't make you lose respect for me, I bet that if I told you being unable to find the house where he was supposed to have lived on my damned cheapo Paris map actually ruined my day, you're now thinking of splattering me with rotten fruit.

But yeah. Flamel. Cool.

In other map stuff, why the feck am I never able to find out where Les Innocents stood? Ach, well. Now for some wine.

rebness: (Default)

[ profile] avariecaita has been spending the week in my Favouritest City Ever, Paris. I think she's really enjoyed herself in the French capital, and if only I had been able to get some time off work or book a little in advance, I would have gladly flown over to see her there.

(Thank god for budget UK airlines).

On one of her posts, I wrote that Paris makes my heart ache. It really does-- when I'm in that city, I feel alive like at no other time. I feel I know it better than any city in England, but also that I can never really know it.

Don't get me wrong; I adore New York, other French cities, and even that jaded London, but Paris just...gets me.

Anyhow, I thought I may as well make a whimsical post of three sort-of vignettes about why I love Paris )


rebness: (Default)

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