Robin Camille Davis
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The Catacombs of Paris

June 19, 2009
Tags: bizarre, paris, poetry

On Thursday, Deven and I, the inseparable adventurers adventuring in Europe, descended down a long, narrow spiral staircase and into l'empire de la mort (the Empire of Death). Here, the bones of over a million people are stacked carefully, even artfully. Skulls, fibias, clavicles form layers like a grisly wedding cake.

Les Catacombes were created in 1786 to eliminate disease spread by improper burials in oversaturated cemeteries. The officials in charge decided to discreetly cart the bones into unused rock quarries beneath Paris. Since the 19th century it's been a tourist attraction of sorts. Layers of bones are juxtaposed with plaques engraved with a certain brand of inspirational quotes. Silence, êtres mortels! Silence, mortal beings! Croyez que chaque jour est pour vous le dernier. Believe that each day is for you the last.

O, Death! May your judgement be filled with equity.