Montparnasse

What to do in Paris the Sunday before Halloween?

We thought it would be fun and appropriate to visit the Catacombs, the underground ossuaries of Paris. A series of tunnels and caves covered with human bones, the Cacaombes have been named ‘The World’s Largest Grave’. Spooky!

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However, after taking the métro all the way to Montparnasse in the 14th arrondissement, it was looking pretty unlikely that we’d get in before the Catacombs closed. The queue for the ‘attraction’ was absolutely enormous and barely moving, and (funnily enough) we just weren’t that desperate to see the bones…

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We weren’t giving up on our fun Sunday afternoon, though, so decided to visit another famous (and equally gothic) attraction, La Cimitière de Montparnasse.

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This enormous cemetary was built at the beginning of the 19th Century, around the same time as the other famous graveyards, Montmartre and Père-Lachaise.

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Although my colleagues inform me that Père Lachaise is much more interesting (there, you can find the graves of many famous French singers, actors and celebrities of the past), I found Montparnasse fascinating nonetheless.

IMG_7741.JPGIMG_7740.JPGIMG_7739.JPGI know it is kind of weird that I took so many photos of the graves, but the cemetary looked surprisingly beautiful in the autumn light, and I knew I would want to write about my visit!IMG_7734.JPGIMG_7735.JPGIMG_7736.JPGThe cemetery was impossible to navigate, but Hannah and I eventually managed to find the tombstones of our favourite authors.IMG_7745.JPGBaudelaireIMG_7761.JPG

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Maupassant

IMG_7762.JPGIonescoIMG_7752.JPGBeckettIMG_7755.JPGDe Beauvoir and Sartre, buried togetherIMG_7750.JPG

We also saw the grave of Serge Gainsbourg; (Here’s a link to my new favourite song)

As I mentioned in my review of the Musée de la Chasse et la Nature, it is nice to do something a bit different sometimes. Although the Cimitière is pretty well-known, I’d like to think it’s not the first thing that tourists want to do when they come to Paris. I feel like I’ve explored a different side of the city!

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Halloween itself was not a big deal. To be honest I was kind of relieved to hear that my favourite city has not succumbed to the consumer-led celebration. I made a pretty yummy Pumpkin salad for my lunchbox (roast pumpkin with spinach, cashews and goat’s cheese!), but I was never planning on dressing up and going trick or treating.

I was quite surprised to see a long queue outside a fancy dress shop at Hotel de Ville at 7pm on the night of Halloween. Classic French, leaving everything until the last minute (this is why I love the city so much – so chilled).IMG_7843.JPG

Us English kids, however, completely ignored the fact that it was Halloween and just had an average Friday night out. I actually think I preferred this to my half-hearted attempts of the last few years…Go hard or go home, I say.

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I would have quite liked to do something for Bonfire Night, though. The 5th of November was a miserable Tuesday evening, and it might have been fun to go to a firework display and eat a toffee apple…

Oh well, the Christmas decorations are starting to appear, and I know how wonderful Paris will be at Christmastime!!

 

* UPDATE: Ive just found this post on one of my favourite Paris blogs, Hip Paris, which is fairly similar. Have a look!

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