|Meet Courtney! Having some fun with the Eiffel tower optics|
around the city.
Tell us a little bit about yourself—school, background, major, reasons for taking this trip, anything else interesting you want to share.
|Courtney discovering the bottom end of the famous Louvre pyramid|
in the underground entrance to the museum.
(photo courtesy: Kyubo Yun)
|Taking a break at the gardens. From left to right: Rosaura, Courtney, Alison, Tessa.|
(photo courtesy: Kyubo Yun)
The city of Paris has not shocked me as much as I had predicted. The city itself, as beautiful as it is, does look like every photo or image I have ever seen of it, which I find disappointing. However, what I have found to be most amazing is the city’s transportation system. There is this underground world that is dirty and impressive beyond anything that I have ever experienced. This is my first experience traveling on public transit underground and it is both invasive and congruous at the same time. An intricate maze of metro lines form a busy world beneath a world. You can go from one end of the city to the other without even seeing the city. As sad as it is to travel through the city and not even ever see any of it, the metro system has impressed me substantially, especially being a foreigner and not speaking the language, the metro has provided me with an easy direct way of getting from place to place. I have had many experiences that I will never forget on and getting to the metro. I do want to also bring light to, not only the convenience of the underground, but to the situation that travelers are warned about, what the cities of Europe are known for, pick pocketing. So far in my metro traveling I have witnessed two situations where a young girl has pick pocketed someone and either been caught and taken down by authorities or has accidentally failed and dropped the wallet being stolen (thankfully recovered by the owner). It is one thing to hear the stories about the metro systems in these countries but to actually have your personal space become a stranger’s personal space is the most shocking aspect of the way of life in Paris. If I could describe Paris in one word it would be Invasive.
|Paris at night along the Seine.|
Give us some insight into your assigned art work from the Musee d’ Orsay. After seeing the work in person, what struck you most about it and/or how did the art work’s form, content, and context shift for you when seeing it?
|Gustave Courbet, The Spring (1868)|
Today’s activity ended up being at the Catacombs for you. What were your impressions? What will you take away of the experience? What, if any are the memorable moments for you?
|Miles of skulls and human bones on display at the Catacombs of Paris.|
Today’s activity actually became a mish mash of galleries being closed so as an alternative I went to see the Catacombs. What used to be Paris’s stone mines have been renovated and are now known as The Catacombs which is located south of the former city gate, the “Barrière d’ Enfer”. Since 1874 this ossuary has held the remains of about six million people. Today we visited this tunnel that twists and turns underneath one of Paris’s districts. I instantly thought of the relationship between these tunnels and the metro, underground worlds. I just think that it’s interesting how Paris had to resort to life underground, during the renovation, to make room for the ordered structure above ground. After descending down a narrow spiral stone stairwell of nineteen meters we reached the chilling darkness and silence that resides in the long narrow tunnels. Beyond the halls I came upon an opening with the inscription "Arrêt! C’est ici l’empire da la Mort, meaning Halt!" "This is the Empire of the Dead, above the arch way." This was the entrance to the walls and caverns that hold the carefully arranged bones, skulls and femurs. During my experience underground I felt a bit sad, sad that these people were buried once and then dug up from their graves within the city and moved underground and also sad that it was an attraction. I felt though I was invading their spirits or burial grounds. I will make one last connection to these underground Catacombs and the city of Paris, the way the bones were lined up and meticulously placed against the walls in rows and rows reminds me of Haussmannization in the city, rows and rows of buildings all perfectly aligned, not one out of place. Not one bone or skull, not one human being out of place.