Secrets of the Catacombs

I guess by seeing the featured image above, you were probably wondering how come I would post a creepy picture like this one. Ironically enough, I just finished watching this horror movie called, “As Above, So Below.” It’s a movie about a small group exploring the Catacombs of Paris, and basically many of them die and so forth. And I just recently visited the Catacombs of Paris.

For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, the Catacombs of Paris are basically underground ossuaries holding the remains of six million Parisians. It’s full of old tunnel networks, caves and dark secrets. It has been open to the public since 1874. Luckily today, they restricted almost the entire place from the public, which is good because if it wasn’t, who knows how many people would get lost.

My wait to the Catacombs began with an hour wait outside from the barred entrance. And as I arrive in front, there are various signs in different languages saying that I’m about to enter the empire of the dead. My visit began with a narrow spiral staircase going down around 20 meters underground. After, you’ll find yourself in a small room with the entrance to the Catacombs on your right.

When you first walk inside, visually it’s a bit creepy but psychologically it’s even creepier because you already know what to expect – the final resting place of six million Parisians. The first thing you will expect is the scent of the area, now it doesn’t smell bad but it does smell like the inside of an old abandoned church. After you experience the smell, it gets better.

As you are walking, you can see many bones and skulls piled up into pillars and some even placed to make a heart and other forms. It was quite nice.

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Many signs were placed on the walls saying, “Respectez les morts” – Respect the dead. Many visitors were respecting the dead, meaning, not doing anything stupid with the skulls and bones, but many people weren’t. I actually witnessed a man putting his arm around a skull and making a peace sign. Some people are honestly stupid and disrespectful. I guess the notion of respecting the dead was a bit lost in the crowd.

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In some parts of the Catacombs which are open to the public, you’ll find a few security guards here and there making sure everyone respects the cemetery. But because they’re not everywhere watching you, that doesn’t mean you can trash the place, that said, I actually found a few beer cans and cigarette buds on the ground.

But even with the beer cans and cigarette buds on the floor, I still had an epic time. I found my visit quite interesting and it was a fun experience.

At the end of my visit, unfortunately, was a 30-meter narrow spiral staircase going up, but as you exit to civilization, you’ll find a cute gift shop. There you can purchase skull shaped cookies, artwork, and mugs.

If you like this kind of stuff, I definitely suggest this place as a place to visit because it’s something you have never seen before and also because it’s a well-known place with a lot of history behind it.

 

 

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An awe-inspiring day in Narbonne

 

Narbonne.

One of the many places where everyone desires to visit. But why?

Besides dating back to Ancient Rome, Narbonne is famous for its beaches, tourist attractions, and its gorgeous dry weather.

If you are planning on going here, which I strongly suggest you do, there are beautiful hotels such as the Brit Hotel Plaissance. It offers great rooms with a terrace view with seating, Wi-Fi, and on top of that, it’s surrounded by great shops, restaurants, and attractions.

Anyways, I went from La Redorte (where I was staying) to Narbonne which is a total of approximately 32 kilometers, so a 34-40 minute drive, which surprisingly didn’t take that long. When I arrived there, it was time to explore and eat because I was famished.

By the way, Narbonne has fantastic restaurants and cafes! And if you love shopping, there are great boutiques offering an abundance of different things.

After exploring the area a bit, I decided to go for a walk in a peaceful neighborhood away from everybody to take some air. As I was walking, I saw many old houses, probably over fifty years old or so, an old cathedral and a beautiful garden.

 

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Now, this was the outside of the cathedral. I, unfortunately, did not have the chance to go inside because it was closed but I did, however, appreciate the architecture and the cobblestone streets leading towards the entrance. I just find it astonishing how they used to build buildings, streets…And yet still to this day, it remains rather intact, unlike our buildings today.

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After my peaceful walk, I decided to go back and eat at this Italian restaurant. I naturallysat outside on the terrace to appreciate the view and the weather. I ordered homemade seafood pasta with a small platter of cheese, meat, and baguette which was delicious.

After my long and exciting day to Narbonne, I decided to head back home to La Redorte, when I arrived, I was exhausted, so I went up to my room and fell on my bed and slept, dreaming of my exciting day and what to do on the next day.

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Remember: Bring sunscreen – it does tend to get very hot.

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Twitter for more silliness and epic travel stories! You can also add me on Snapchat – @benlessard

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© Benjamin Lessard – TheBenLessard

A trip to the south

Where: Hérault, France

I have seen many gorgeous sceneries and places as I travel to one location to the next during my trip to France, and I have to say, it has been wonderful every single day. Many of those days would be considered as being some of the best days of my life.

One day, I woke up feeling happy and excited as ever ready to explore. But what to do? I eventually decided to take a short trip to Minerve. I can recall feeling a bit tired, and I wasn’t really in the mood for walking.

But I have read that Minerve is a small and old village, 21 kilometers away from where I was staying in La Redorte. So, getting to Minerve was rather simple, and as I was driving, looking outside my windshield, there were kilometers of mountains and greenery everywhere.

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Anyways when I arrived, I was very shocked to see how small but beautiful the village was. I’m guessing a few families were living there, but otherwise, it was mostly a tourist attraction. However, on that day, there weren’t that many tourists…Thank God! As I explored the village, I saw a small bakery, a couple of restaurants (straightforward), an ice-cream shop, and a few small boutiques selling their goods.

What I found the most surprising was, many people who came to visit Minerve left pretty early, maybe they had already visited the entire village or perhaps they had places to go. Regardless, I enjoyed it.

I recall the weather being partly sunny with many clouds in the sky and a crisp breeze.

The best part of the day was exploring a whole new area of Southern France, an area in which I didn’t even know existed. I sure was glad to visit it. A very memorable trip.

 


Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Twitter for more silliness and epic travel stories! You can also add me on Snapchat – @benlessard –

Finally, if you enjoyed reading this post, don’t forget to share it on Facebook or Twitter. I’d really appreciate it. Thank you so much!

Walking in a Palace

Where: Versailles, France

When you hear the word palace, what are your immediate thoughts? Just take a moment to think about it, and I’ll get back to you in a few seconds.

So what was it? Did you immediately think of royalty, or perhaps a King or Queen? And if you did, that’s exactly what I first thought when I visited a real royal palace.

Before I talk in detail about my visit, I think it would be important to talk a little about the history of the Palace of Versailles, aka Château de Versailles.

The Palace of Versailles was first built in the year 1623 by Louis XIII, made of brick and stone, and it was then enlarged by Louis XIV into a royal palace. During the French Revolution, the royal family was forced to leave, three years before the fall of the monarchy. Much of the palace was destroyed and a lot of furniture had to be sold. After many years, they rebuilt the palace and still to this day remains intact along with the furniture belonging to the Royal Family. Today there are over five million people who visit the Château, and over ten million people visit the garden every year.

Now hopefully that gives you a little insight of the history of the Palace.

So, my visit to the Palace of Versailles, well, I can sum it up in three words: stunning, gorgeous, and amazing. This is because when I first saw the outside of the palace, I was amazed of how beautiful it was!

Now, before visiting the interior of the palace, I decided to see the gardens located to the west of the palace, because I’ve heard it’s one of the most beautiful gardens in the world! And when I got there, it was most certainly true.

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This fantastic garden covers around 800 hectares of land with over 200,000 trees, and around 200,000 flowers are planted every year, it also has 50 beautiful fountains and 620 water jets! When you walk in the Gardens, there are seating areas located almost everywhere, so you don’t need to worry about finding a seat. And if you want to relax in front of an amazing view, I suggest bringing a good book, some snacks, and sunscreen, because it does tend to get a bit hot especially in the afternoon.

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After my visit to the Gardens, I took a private tour of the Palace, which was great because you avoid the public and you can see parts of the Palace that the public can’t have access too. And gosh, the rooms in which I visited was gorgeous!

In this picture down below, I had the chance to visit the Royal Opera, a beautiful room with crystal chandeliers, wall art, stone floor, and marble pillars.

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If you ever have the opportunity to visit Versailles, take it because it is an unforgettable experience! And to finish my private tour, I had the chance to see many other rooms such as the royal library, dining rooms, piano rooms, and royal bedrooms…

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Just having the chance to see this wonder, I couldn’t help but imagine how much time and money it takes to maintain the entire palace.

Overall I had a blast, I got the chance to see most of the inside, and outside of the Palace, not only that, but I learned a lot about the history behind all this, so I had a truly fun and amazing experience.

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© Benjamin Lessard – TheBenLessard

Seeing the Eiffel Tower

Before I get on with this post and show you the incredible Eiffel Tower, can we just take a moment to admire or at least appreciate this amazing landmark? I managed to take this picture on the famous Bâteau de Mouche, a boat ride that shows you different landmarks, which was great.

Anyways, back on to what this post is really about – Eiffel Tower, aka the Iron Lady – Paris’ most famous landmark!

It was my first time in Paris, and I must say I enjoyed every second of it, I mean, what can you not love about it? From the culture to the architecture, to the beautiful language and its exquisite French cuisine… Sounds like a dream, right?

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I always wanted to visit Paris and see its famous landmark, because first of all, it’s always on social media and magazines, not to mention how my friends and family are always telling me their wildest stories about their trip there, so my curiosity grew even more. But when you’re actually there in person, it’s a whole different story.

If you’ve ever been to the Eiffel Tower, you’d know that there are different entrance fees. The prices vary depending on what part of the Eiffel Tower you wish to visit, which means it would cost less to use the stairs to the second floor than using the elevator. However, if you would like to use the elevator all the way to the top, it’s quite expensive. But don’t let the price discourage your decision, because when you’re either on the second level or the top floor, the view is simply breathtaking.

Here is a picture from the amazing view I got from the second floor! This picture was taken by my sister Jasmine.

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Here is another example of the gorgeous view of the city, but now from the very top of the Eiffel Tower. First, I must quickly mention that there are thousands of tourists daily wanting to see the Eiffel Tower and its view, so I suggest going in the early morning when there are fewer people. It’s less of a hassle time wise, but also there isn’t a big crowd blocking your view, and if you love taking pictures, assuming you do, it would be much easier and you’d enjoy it more.

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The Eiffel Tower is undoubtedly beautiful, and if you ever are in Paris – it is definitely worth a visit.

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Remember: Bring your camera – or else you will regret it!

Overall, my trip to the Eiffel Tower was incredible! I loved every second of it.

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Twitter for more silliness and epic travel stories! You can also add me on Snapchat – @benlessard –

Finally, if you enjoyed reading this post, don’t forget to share it on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you so much!