One thing about ancient cities: they’ve spent a long time dealing with death. Paris is pretty ancient. In its catacombs, you can almost witness the point where dealing with the dead went from sacred memorial to menial job, until finally they ended up turning the dead into an art–a sort of sacred-memorial-menial-job hybrid.
Walking along a underground cavern lined with human skulls and ancient mausoleums isn’t the sort of thing that translates well into words. So we set Lily next to them and snapped some pictures–like some kind of “Adam’s Family Vacation” photo album.
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Even without human bones, the catacombs of Paris instill a mild claustrophobia in the heartiest of travelers. (Jacob Bielanski\2012)
It was pure coincidence that low shutter speed made Lily look ghostly in this picture at the entrance to the catacombs’ Ossuary. (Jamie Peacock/2012)
The formula seemed to be: a layer of forearm bones, a layer of shin bones, a layer of upper arm bones, a layer of thigh bones and, finally, a layer of skulls. (Jamie Peacock/September 2012)
The most surprising thing about Jim Morrison’s grave is it’s smallness. It’s not the memorial-befitting-a-rock-star you’d expect, and certainly not as impressive as other mausoleaums in the Père Lachaise Cemetery. (Jamie Peacock/September 2012)
But then again, many of the “big” mausoleums don’t receive the same care and attention as Jim’s. (Jacob Bielanski/September 2012)
The door to a mausoleum in Père Lachaise Cemetery. (Jacob Bielanski/September 2012)
It’s hard to balance the feelings of “wow, this is an incredible park!” with the realization that “wow, grieving Parisian families are still burying their dearly departed here.” I frequently told Lily to be quiet, even when “no one” seemed to be around. (Jacob Bielanski/September 2012)
I won’t lie: these statues looked less “eternal grief” and more “eternal embarrassment.” (Jacob Bielanski/September 2012)
One mausoleum inexplicably bears large amounts of graffiti from the late Jim Morrison’s fans. It’s about 50 feet away, and there’s plenty of damaged, but unvandalized, mausoleums between the two. (Jacob Bielanski/September 2012)
Ask Jamie and she’ll probably be happy to tell you: this is the second such picture of her in front of Chopin’s grave. (Jacob Bielanski/2012)