What a day! We saw thousands of human bones and skulls, saw the last “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II” before any of our American friends and had a lovely stroll through the prettiest garden in Paris. And to top it all off, there was no drama in the subway today.
We started off visiting Chloe’s number one attraction, les Catacombes. Located about 60 feet underneath the Paris streets, the tunnels started out as limestone quarries, used for thousands of years to provide stone to build Parisian monuments and churches. Just before the French Revolution, however, the city decided to close a bunch of cemeteries, in order to assuage residents’ health concerns – at the time, sanitation was not one of the city’s priorities, to say the least, and the human remains in the mass graves added to the horrible stench in the streets. The solution: shore up the underground tunnels by storing the bones in the quarries, which became the warehouse for six million of the city’s dead until 1860.
Needless to say, Chloe was in skull heaven. Sophie thought it was cool for about five minutes.
From there, we went to see “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II.” Chloe loved the fact that we were able to see it before any of her friends. For those of you wondering how it was, it was a great ending to the film series. Very well done and very faithful to the last half of the final tome. No need to see it in 3D like we did, however.
We ended our day in Paris with a leisurely stroll through the Luxembourg Gardens. I had forgotten how beautiful they are in the summer with all the flowers in bloom.
On a final note, I’ve been struck during our travels by how different it feels to be in France with the kids in tow. When I lived here, I felt like a true Parisian. I spoke the language fluently, with just a slight accent, and often succeeded in fooling people about my true origins. This time around, I am clearly a tourist. Plain and simple. No matter how well I still speak the language, Chloe and Sophie, with their youthful exuberance and loud exclamations in American English, give it away. I can’t hide it anymore!