Friday, October 31, 2014

Mysterieux Paris - October in Paris

 Mystérieux Paris

Paris is lovely. Paris is Romantic. Paris is Stylish.
Paris is ... Creepy?

Oui! Even the most sophisticated capital cities have their little secrets, mysteries, dark corners, forbidden places.
With such a gory history of war, plague and revolution there are is no end to the dark corners just waiting to be explored in Paris. It's a fantastic place to spend Halloween! Here, in no particular order, are our top scary Paris activities:

1. The Catacombs
Paris may be known as the City of Lights, but the French capital has a darker side that lurks far below the pavement

As you walk the streets of Paris you might be surprised to learn that right below your feet is a series of catacombs that stretches for almost 300km, housing the remains of around 6 million corpses. Walking through the non-descript door and climbing down the dank steps into this maze is like stepping into another world. The walls are lined with bones stacked up to 2 metres high and several metres thick in places. In a bizarre and grotesque tribute to the millions of Parisians that died from disease, starvation or violence who could not afford a grave, the bones have been fashioned into elaborate designs – a heart shape made of skulls, a real life skull and crossbones and elaborate doorways.

The entrance reads Arrette! C’est ici l’empire de la mort, ‘Stop! This is the empire of the dead’ and it’s one threshold that takes guts to cross. If you think you have what it takes to tread the sinister underbelly of Paris, consider one of our
skip the line access tours. Only 200 people are allowed into the Paris Catacombs at any one time which makes it a fantastic experience once you’re down there but can lead to queues up to two hours long.


visit the website

2. The Paris Sewer Museum

The Paris Sewer Museum, or Musée des égouts de Paris is a fantastic and icky attraction that is especially great for anyone who knows and loves Les Misérables, since much of the musical and Victor Hugo’s novel upon which it was based, takes place in these long sandstone corridors. Don’t worry, you won’t be wading knee deep in the city’s toilet fluids. The sanitary sewers feed into separate pipes these days. Think more along the lines of mannequins dressed up as sewer workers, a five-ton flushing boat and the odd stream of drainwater coming in from the streets.  

Located in the 7th arrondissement beneath the Quai d’Orsay.
Open every day but Thursday and Friday, from 11am to 4pm.

Visit the website

3. The Dark Heart of Paris

Paris has a very dark and bitter history.  Just watch Les Misérables, read A Tale of Two Cities or a flick through The Hunchback of Notre Dame. There are elements of Parisian history that you probably know well, like the French revolution where the streets were literally painted with blood. The guillotine that claimed so many heads, including Marie Antoinette’s. Or Bartholomew’s Day massacre that ended 30,000 lives. But even if you know all of this you’ve still probably only seen the tip of the iceberg.

The Dark Heart of Paris tour will take you through the streets of Paris under a cloak of darkness, winding down alleyways and cutting through the hushed silence of the night. Your guide will tell you the shocking details that are never published in French travel brochures, made all the more eerie when you are standing in the exact place where they happened. Heads chopped off, crusaders burned at the stake and criminals tortured in front of a captive audience – can you think of a scarier way to spend Halloween?
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4. La Conciergerie

Although it was built as a palace, La Conciergerie is best known for its long history as a Parisian prison. Just next door to the Palais de Justice where criminals and the not-so-criminal were tried and charged with various crimes, the dungeons of La Conciergerie were a handy place to throw them before their appointment with La Guillotine. Take a tour of the dungeons where 2,800 prisoners were kept and drop by a reproduction of the cell where Marie Antoinette spent her last few hours.

Trick or Treat??!
Forget the Scary Spots
Go to the Sweet Spots!

La Patisserie des Reves
(Grand Cru Cake)
93 Rue Du Bac 75006

Cafe Pouchkine
(Or Noir Cake)
64 Boulevarde Haussmann 75008

Carl Marletti
(La Marie Antoinette Fraise)
51 Rue Censier 75005

Des Gateaux Et Du Pain
63 Boulevard Pasteur  75015

Darker than Dark
Paris Bar au Vin & Jazz Venue

Le Guillotine Bar

 Tucked away on a narrow street in Paris' Latin Quarter. Called La Guillotine, the bar looks like a typical hangout for Parisian "bobos". Below the dimly lit bar lies a marvelous little room called
Le Caveau des Oubliettes - steep stone stairs lead into the cave filled with small wooden tables. Here on most nights, beginning around 10 p.m, an unannounced mix of jazz and blues groups seduce an eclectic crowd in a room that once housed the forgotten.

In medieval times, Le Caveau des Oubliettes, which translates to "the cave of the forgotten," held prisoners awaiting the guillotine. The tight door and thick stone walls masked the prisoners' wails and howls. Iron handcuffs on the walls, chains along the staircase, and a barred window remind listeners of the room's past and give the intimate club an uniquely eerie feel.

Address:  52 Rue Galande
Le Caveau des Oubliettes  

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