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  • This story goes back to just over a year ago now, it was january last year and i had gone to Paris with my art class in college. I still remember my trip to the Catacombs quite strongly, for me it was quite an emotional experience. Wednesday morning my room mates had decided to abandon me alone at the hotel, and despite us being told we were not to go around alone and to always be in groups of at least 3 or more, i decided to leave the hotel to venture Paris alone.
    This was not an easy decision for me i left crying and scared i didn't want to waste one of the few days we had in Paris in a hotel room, so with my money, cameras, train card, student Id, mobile phone and Plan of Paris in hand i walked the streets alone scared and crying. Navigation wasn't difficult i was able to find my way around easily with my Plan of Paris and managed to get to the Catacombs quickly despite my vision being impaired through the blur of my tears and distress.
    I entered the main area and payed for my ticket getting half price for being a student and was pointed towards a narrow steep set of spiral stairs, I panicked so much as i descended the stairs, steep and seemingly going on forever with only an iron railing to hold on to, scared of the enclosed area, of the idea of falling, of the idea that if something was to happen how would anyone from my class know... the blur in my eyes getting worse as i started to well up and cry again, almost wanting to turn back, i didn't turn back though i got to the bottom of those stairs fine without a stumble or stutter, and then i went straight into the tunnel ahead the only way i could go that wasn't back from where i came, my fucked up vision from all my tears causing me to miss the sign telling you that there was 500M of tunnel to go through before getting to the Catacombs themselves.
    The tunnels were dark small and enclosed with a few green arrows doted about, some orange bulb lights causing an eerie glow lighting the way, just adding a slight spookiness to the gloom, further i walked into the darkness and twisting damp tunnels, thats when it hit me i was completely alone, underneath somewhere in Paris not even sure if i was going the right way, panicking and crying even more, every step forward just wanting to go back to where i knew i was, where people were but willing myself to carry on, not be stupid that i couldn't be going the wrong way as that was the only way to go, but with no one around me to ask for sure, just to reassure my racing mind i carried on walking in tears of fear, it seemed like forever before i finally entered the first area of the Catacombs as soon as i got there and saw where i was relief just swept over me my crying and distress eased away, just happy to have got there fine and be in the right place, this time spotting the sign that told me where i was, what was odd though still no people, no one else was there i was completely alone with the dead leaving a slight feeling of uneasiness in the back of my mind.

    Alone with the dead, sniffling from my bout of tears earlier i pondered around the Catacombs in peace, no people to disturb the creepy feel that hung about in the air, walls lined with skulls and bones, some in gothic patterns of crosses and such others just rows and lines, the only sound being my breath, sometimes holding it to just be engulfed in the silence and awe of my surroundings. The lighting was the same orangey bulbs that lit the tunnels, but seemingly further apart from each other this time, casting shadows and and orange glow around the chambers adding to the feel of the place.
    I took my time to explore and look around naming a skull skelly bob, photographing what i could with both film camera and digital taking in the sight and feel of the place, looking at all the different plaques with dates and names of cemeteries that no longer existed, viewing all the little sculptures created down there, looking up and seeing all the tiny glinting stalactites that were just starting to form on the ceiling, my fear distress and tears disappearing into a small smile as i enjoyed and took in my surroundings, at that point loving where i was unfortunately though all good things must come to an end and for me i felt i came to the end of the Catacombs to soon, making my way out back through tunnels at the end feeling lifted and happier, and much more confident about the rest of my day in paris alone, climbing the stairs out and hitting daylight again my eyes squinting from the brightness of day again, with a big smile on my face.
    I came out of there happy after all who else can say they were able to view the Catacombs completely alone?
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