What Lies Beneath

26th February 2014
The limestone used in the ornate buildings of Paris was mined from beneath the city, creating the effect of swiss cheese in it's foundations. The hand carved tunnels stretch for more than 200 miles, a labyrinth of passageways and corridors with a dark history.

Paris is well known for it's architecture, also dubbed the city of romance - It has another name "The Empire of the Dead". Descending a narrow stairway, deep into the guts of the city you get a sense of peace, a feeling being somewhere special. Dare to proceed and the reason becomes apparent.

During the 1700's, time of the "guillotine" ....with plagues and a much shorter life expectancy more than 500 people a week died in the capital. Buried in mass graves the volume of dead in churchyards and cemeteries was so great that they began breaking through cellar walls and concern grew over the health issues.

After much talk and consideration the decision was made to exhume, clean and relocate the 6 million skeletons....a mammoth task. Each bone has been carefully placed, arranged, displayed and as the city bustles above ground, the dead slumber below. Fashioned into walls and pillars the skeletons lay side by side, stripped of both class and flesh they sleep in anonymity.

“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”
― Mark Twain

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