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Adalbert is a forum for me, to post ephemera, photography, poetry, occasional travel notes, and various spontaneous motions. Cover photo: Parsonage where my great-grandfather spent his early years. Taken near Liegnitz, Silesia, ca. 1870.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Catacombs of Paris, Montparnasse Tower

I plunged down spiral depths and traversed the Catacombs of Paris. My previous mental image involved mounds of bones far off in vaults. Instead the wreaths and fractals of skulls and femurs and armbones, slammed together without heed of station in life or other individualities, lined the walls of the vaults, pressing in very close. Other oddments jumped out, basins, springs, memorial slabs, concrete-encapsuled ceiling collapses, or "bell collapses." Memento mori," vanity of vanities, always shards of hipbones and clutter in the vacuum atop the neatly and grimly-assembled bones.
I walked by Montparnasse Cemetery too late to locate any of the famous dwellers. A gatekeeper furiously rang a bell, a warning closing was nigh, as I desperately worked the outside lanes of the tombs. Then I ascended to the top of the Montparnasse Tower, and saw the cemetery, and Paris, from high above.

And encountered a talking toilet capsule. My one year of high school French availed me little as I punched buttons, causing the door to open repeatedly, with a robot voice issuing injuctions. I finally figured it out -- don't press any buttons. After use, the toilet recedes into the wall, and an automatic system washes the whole interior.We could use more of those in other countries -- and it was free,  unlike potties in many other European nations.

Catacombs of Paris


Montparnasse Cemetery, seen from Montparnasse Tower -- De Beauvoir, Sartre, Beckett, Baudelaire, you're in there somewhere. 


  1. Ah Paris, I think culturally one of the best cities to visit. I didn't realize there are several large cemeteries with famous people, I only knew Père Lachaise.

  2. I've found Paris very pleasant for the most part, with a lot of artistic attractions. Montparnasse Cemetery looks like a good place to spend a day exploring.