On my last day, I did two things that people said “don’t you dare go to Paris and not go to this.” Well to those people, I did them both. I spent the money and visited the infamous Catacombs and rode a moped through the busy streets. While I have some great and fun memories of the moped ride, nothing compares to the Catacombs of Paris. Underneath Paris lies hundreds of miles of labyrinth tunnels filled with bones, skulls and crypts. Dating back to the 18th century, the catacombs serve as a story of a city that no longer could contain its dead. At one point in time, the city had a dense rain that caused the rotting bodies and old bones to flood the streets and the Catacombs were the designed solution. During my tour, you walk down 20 meters of stairs and feel the temperature drop. The air was dense making it hard to breath and the chambers were full of darkness and death. Some of the skulls still had their teeth. You couldn’t help but feel like someone was watching you or walking next to you. Above the entry was "Arrête, c'est ici l'empire de la mort!" (“Stop! This is the empire of death!”) I didn’t stop and I am glad because it was the coolest historical reference I experienced.
Despite the ominous ending to this post, Paris was still alive (above the ground) and if it isn’t on your bucket list, you need to add it. Next stop: London.
Jenna is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Educational Psychology