Paris, in Conclusion; or, the Stories You Can Get from Two Weeks of Travel

Eiffel Tower in Rain

So I have finally, months and months after the adventure, uploaded all my Paris photographs to Flickr. Check it out!

I thought, since I won’t be able to blog each day, that I could summarize here for those who are interested my posts generated from the adventure, although with some stray photographs. Hope it gives at least a glimpse into the traveling.

I’m already hungry for more travel… but where to next?

Musée des Arts Forains (Museum of Carnival Arts)

Musée des Arts Forains (Museum of Carnival Arts) 

Villa la Roche

Le Corbusier’s Villa La Roche

Robertson's phantasmagoria grave

Robert’s fantastic phantasmagoria 

Soleil Froid (Cold Sun)

Soleil Froid (Cold Sun) at the Palais de Tokyo

Helica at the Musee des arts et metiers

Hélica: the car that dreamed it was an airplane at the Musée des arts et métiers

Cemetery Montmartre

The tombs of artists

Musee de la Chasse

Arno Kramer at the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature

Cemetery of the dogs

The Cemetery of the Dogs

Walid Raad

Walid Raad at the Louvre

Basilica of Saint Denis

Basilica of Saint Denis

Marcel Breuer

Marcel Breuer retrospective at the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine

Marquis de Lafayette

Grave of the Marquis de Lafayette

Eileen Grey

Eileen Gray exhibition at the Pompidou

Alabaster Mourners of John the Fearless

Alabaster Mourners of John the Fearless at the Musée de Cluny

Fred le Chevalier

The street art of Fred le Chevalier

The balloonists of Pere Lachaise

The balloonists of Pere Lachaise

Musee d'Orsay

L’Ange du Bizarre (The Angel of the Odd) at the Musée d’Orsay

The Healing Saints and the Medicine of the Divine at the Museum of the History of Medicine

The Healing Saints and the Medicine of the Divine at the Museum of the History of Medicine  

Musee Fragonard

The Musée Fragonard and the “History and Cultural Representations of Human Remains” conference series at the Academy of Medicine, & a Notes from the Field

Johann Rivat’s paintings in Galerie Metropolis

Johann Rivat’s paintings in Galerie Metropolis

Defender of Time Clock

The Defender of Time clock

Jan Fabre at Galerie Daniel Templon

The Museum of Everything

The Museum of Everything

And those are the stories you can get from two weeks in Paris! An argument for more travel if I have ever seen one.

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Paris, by Pieces

Notre Dame de Paris

Well, when you last heard from me I was in Pere Lachaise Cemetery for about a month. (Not really, but it’s been well over that since I last checked in.) I think, realistically, if I were to blog each day of my two weeks in Paris, we might make it to the trip’s one-year anniversary before I finished. Things have been, good — surprisingly good, really — but busy in a way I never though I would be able to handle. There are definitely pros and cons to being a full-time writer, one pro being that I am of course doing what I love and nothing else. A con being that the mind never gets a break, as to write, or at least to write for me, requires a center emotional/mental vein to be constantly open that can be exhausting. But I don’t miss boring office downtime, just the time for my own writing like this.

And with that introduction, I thought I might just go through some wonderful moments I had in Paris. I might do a few posts of these, as this way I can at least share a bit of my trip and the photographs.

Space Invader

We went thrift shopping in the Marais, where I actually found some great boots for 5 euro. (I’m sure someone died in them or something, probably haunted, have yet to find out, maybe a lingering curse?) It’s not just a great neighborhood to walk around because it looks like the Paris of dreams, all old world and tiny winding streets, but there’s also a healthy amount of street art. And of course, you can spot the space invaders.

Regarde le ciel...

Here is some more street art. It says: “Regarde le ciel…” or, “Look at the sky…” I will!

Medusa

Some things you wonder, were they meant to scare or amuse or what? That is what I wondered about this Medusa door carving. Although sort of more Jacob Marley than Medusa. (Hey wait, I already saw him this trip!)

Hotel de Ville

I love New York and I think it’s one of the best cities in the world for many reasons, but I will still admit that we don’t have much on Paris in terms of the lights at night. Like the Hotel de Ville here, which we walked by while it was illuminated, and was even more beautiful than I could capture in this photograph.

Notre Dame de Paris

Or Notre-Dame de Paris, ridiculous! While I’m traveling, I always try to do as much walking as possible. (Which is likely why I’ve had to abandon many worn out shoes while traveling, which have literally fallen to pieces, RIP blue metallic Diesels who met your demise in Rome, RIP lace-up black boots who met your demise in Paris.) But I love that you can get a feel for the city, and I think I walked by Notre-Dame about once a day while on this trip. (Granted, I was hitting museums and such that put me in its path, but still, not a bad sight at all, and I don’t mind the tourist mobs for something so beautiful.)

Notre-Dame de Paris on the Seine

And again, this: stunning.

Le Louvre

And this!!!!

Taxidermy bird in Shakespeare & Company

I have an eye for certain things, like spotting occult symbols in a cemetery or other useless skills, and one of those things is taxidermy in windows. Here’s a bird in Shakespeare & Company. Sadly, I’m not sure of the story with it, maybe just a vague tribute to dark ravens of literature.

Cimetiere Sainte-Marguerite

Never disregard the historic plaques. For example, here, I was just walking along and happened to see that there was once a cemetery here where 73 people guillotined during the French Revolution were interred, and a “child” who died in the Temple, meaning the supposed Dauphin.

Church of Sainte-Marguerite

And the church next to it, the Church of Sainte-Marguerite, turned out to be quite beautiful on the inside with a trompe l’oeil ceiling and walls, even though it looked rather plain from the outside.

WWI Stained Glass

But my favorite thing in the Church of Sainte-Marguerite were the stained glass windows that memorialized those lost in WWI. They were really moving, like this one where a soldier is ascending into heaven in the arms of angels.

Angel of Paris

It sort of felt like angels were everywhere I looked in Paris. This one was three stories tall!

Angel in the Louvre

And this one was hiding its face in the Louvre.

Well, those are a handful of Paris moments, and there will be more! I hope the rambling nature of this at least gives the sense of a wander through the city. And I really did wander quite far. And there’s nothing I love more than wandering.

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Morning in Pere Lachaise Cemetery

So when we last left off (and apologies for the lack of postings, it seems that now that I’m basically making my living as a blogger, that the blog where I got my blogging start as fallen to the wayside, hélas!), I had just arrived in Paris and spent a rather jet lagged day journeying around the city. Well, I got a whole night of sleep and felt millions of times better, but still woke up obscenely early. Since the apartment we were staying in was only a five minute walk from Pére Lachaise Cemetery, one of my favorite places to explore in Paris, I decided to go for a morning walk.

I’d never been in the old cemetery quite so early, just after its gates opened, and found that it was mostly full of old French men reading newspapers and eating croissants on benches, not really paying much mind to my ambling walk through the tombs. As the morning burned on there were more and more tourists, but for much of the walk I had the place to myself. Here are some of my favorite photos from the excursion:

This is a memorial for two balloonists who perished while trying to fly up too high. I wrote about their whole story here for Atlas Obscura.

The insides of the narrow mausoleums could be a bit unsettling.

Was this one the most unsettling?

Yes, it was.

Here is the grave of Felix Faure, once the president of France. I believe that’s the French flag draping over his body.

Some rather beautiful cats call the cemetery home.

This is the entrance to the “Aux Morts” (“To the Dead”) ossuary, which acts as the cemetery’s catacombs.

A shrouded angel (even the wings are covered, I think) grasping some cattails. Death keeping a hold on life? I read that the cattails are also a symbol of salvation.

This is the two-story 19th century columbarium. I heard that Maria Callas is interred here, but in the hundreds of plaques I did not see her.

I think this ill-looking face is supposed to be one of mourning, but it reminds me of Jacob Marley, a character who absolutely terrified me as a child with all the chains and  face wrappings.

I don’t think there is much kneeling going on in these mausoleums anymore. I read that there are only 30 year leases that have to be renewed on gravesites (if not renewed, you go to that ossuary), but many of these seem to have been long forgotten by families.

A bat!

This was something I had not seen before: a gravesite shaped like a military tent!

Graffiti at Jim Morrison’s well-traveled tomb. This is as close as you can get due to barricades. Although there was no guard there to stop you from jumping over…

This bas relief certainly caught my eye! It turned out to be on the tomb of Robertson, a famed innovator of phantasmagoria. I also wrote about this tomb for Atlas Obscura, so check it out and read about the conjuring of fake 18th century phantoms!

Robertson was also a balloonist.

After spending the morning wandering, I headed to a cafe for some much needed coffee. I love many things about Paris, but the constant proximity of cafes with strong coffee is definitely a highlight. That and the dense cemeteries for exploring, of course!

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