Death on the Seine
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Wednesday, November 1, 2006
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Dear Parler Paris Reader,
Today is November 1st or 11-1 or 1-11 depending on how you read or write your calendar. Millions of people all around the world arbitrarily see these numbers, particularly 11:11, on their clocks, on their speedometers, on restaurant receipts, license plates, and phone numbers, jumping out from all sorts of sources.
My daughter is one of them. At first I thought she was joking until she pointed it out when we were together and then I noticed that I was party to it — when our hotel room was number 111, or her plane seat was number 11 or what she had purchased totaled $11.11.
It is thought to be a message of synchronicity, an act of Divine Intervention, telling you that it is time to take a good look around you and see what is real and what is illusory. In numerology, the number 11 is often considered the number of the “spiritual messenger,” a number of spiritual illumination signifying a channel for the information between the “higher” and “lower,” a connection between conscious and unconscious, heaven and earth, yin and yang, male and female, two “ones” joined, that make the pillars to the heavenly gate…a perfect symbol of the twin soul.
Do an Internet search on 11:11 and see what I am saying is true.
So, I don’t think it’s “par hazard” (by chance) that today should be All Saints day, a day when common commemorations by several churches of the death of martyrs began to be celebrated in the 4th-century. It’s both a national and religious holiday here in France and most all businesses are closed.
While I am not one to have been blessed by Divine Intervention, each year on this date I make an effort, in the “spirit” of 11-1, to visit a cemetery and lay flowers on someone’s grave…not necessarily anyone of importance to me or the world, but just some peacefully resting body (whose soul is likely long gone to another unsuspecting body!). Cemeteries in Paris are widely visited, not only by those who grieve, but by those who find them as fascinating as I do. In a recent blog about Paris, someone wrote, “For me, no trip is complete without a visit to the local cemetery.”
Today, after lunch in Montmartre with a friend, we plan on visiting the Saint-Vincent Cemetery (“Cimetière Saint-Vincent”) at 6, rue Lucien-Gaulard opened on January 5, 1831. It was Montmartre’s second cemetery, built after the Cimetière du Calvaire had been filled. A small cemetery with just over 900 graves, a few of its best known residents are writers, actors, musicians and artists we would all recognize.
For a more extensive tour, we may mosey downhill to the Montmartre Cemetery (“Cimetière de Montmartre”), a famous cemetery located at 37, avenue Samson. At one time, cemeteries had been banned from Paris ever since the closing of the “Cimetière des Innocents” in 1786, as at that time they presented health hazards. Later, several new cemeteries replaced all the Parisian ones, outside the then precincts of the capital in the early 19th-century — Montmartre being one of them (in the north), Le Père Lachaise Cemetery in the east, Passy Cemetery in the west and Montparnasse Cemetery in the south.
If you really want a more bare-boned visit on such a spiritual occasion, head for the Catacombs (1, Place Denfert-Rochereau, 14th, phone +33 1 43 22 47 63). For the sake of hygiene and town planning, in the late 1700s, the Catacombs were built to compensate for cemeteries overflowing with bones. Once the “quarries of Paris,” the catacomb tunnels extend for 1.7 kilometers located 20 meters below the city and house the bones of
five to six million people. Believe it or not, they remain at a steady temperature of 11° Celsius year round. Yes, you read right — 11°.
While the “Cimetière du Père Lachaise” is the world’s most visited cemetery, having opened in 1805 with more than one million people to have been buried there, including such famous figures as Chopin, Seurat, Molière, Oscar Wilde, Delacroix, Proust, Balzac, Apollinaire and of course, rock star Jim Morrison, it is not the only deadly spot on the map to pay your respects. In fact, the “Cimetière du Montparnasse” (3, boulevard Edgar Quinet, 14th) is the third largest cemetery in Paris covering 1800 acres. Established in 1824, it is the resting place of numerous artists, politicians and dignitaries…along with one 19-year old high-school friend of my daughter’s who sadly took her own life in January of 2004.
It is for her and all those dear I have lost, but whose spirits are with us on this 1-11, for whom I will lay flowers on some special day.
A la prochaine…
P.S. Test out our new site and check out James Navé’s upcoming workshop, WRITING FROM THE IMAGINATIVE STORM, a 3-hour creative writing workshop that crackles with passion, fun, and spontaneity. Sponsored by Parler Paris, facilitated by poet, James Navé, on December 2, 2006, 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. See you there! Visit /frenchproperty/conference/ for more information.
The Parler Paris Weekly Community Calendar is a partnership with http://www.Paris-Update.com to provide you with the most up-to-date information about upcoming events related to the Anglophone community in Paris.
We gladly run announcements for non-profit organizations. If you wish your community announcement to be listed, please provide the text in ENGLISH just as you’d like it to appear and send it to: [email protected]
We reserve the right to edit as necessary. We cannot promise it will be run if the information is provided in French or if the format is unacceptable. Please use the calendar format as your guide.
Thank you, Adrian
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This week in French Property Insider…
A mortgage of 110,000€ will buy you 54 square meters in Strasbourg compared with a 12 square meter studette in Paris’ 6th district!…FPI Subscribers Read On…
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Excerpt from the Writers Insider Guide to Paris
In reference to the Left Bank at the end of the last century, Edmund White writes in The Flâneur, “No, there’s no denying that Saint-Germain is no longer Intelligence Central for the whole world as it once claimed to be… It’s sort of as though a beatnik brat has grown up to be an elegant and rather brainless matron.” As his quick words claim, the Paris of now barely resembles the Paris of then. You won’t find a 15-dollar-a-month hotel these days, nor even a one-dollar cup of coffee. And although Saint-Germain has just put out a new bi-lingual magazine called Six about the arty goings-on in the neighborhood, Sartre is dead, no resistant movement is whispering among the tea cups, and Hemin
gway’s Left Bank cafés have become tourist traps…for more about historic, literary Paris, see the guide….
Novelists, journalists, poets, dreamers and doers…discover the writing life in Paris. It is possible, click here to find out how…
Living and Investing in France
If you’ve always dreamed of moving to France, starting a new life in Paris, enjoying a “pied-à-terre” of your own part of the year or perhaps investing in property in France, this power-packed seminar is a MUST. Hosted by Adrian Leeds, Editor of the Parler Paris Nouvellettre® and French Property Insider weekly e-zine and John Howell, lead attorney for John Howell & Co.,International Law Partnership, London, this one day in Paris will put you on the right footing to make it happen!
You will learn how to…
* Obtain the Right to Be in France!
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Parler Paris Apartments is administered and serviced by the same great team as Parler Paris, French Property Insider and French Property Consultation. You can trust that Parler Paris Apartments and all those with whom it is associated will do their best for your 100% guaranteed satisfaction.
“Le Provençal” Studio: LAST MINUTE OFFER
Rent Le Provençal between November 16 and December 19 at special last-minute rates: 125€/Night, 800€/Week or 2000€ for 4 weeks or entire period of 36 days!
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The next gathering is November 14, 2006
So mark your calendars to be sure not to miss it! See /parlerparis/apresmidi.html for more details.
Practice speaking French and English. Make friends, discuss interesting topics, learn about other cultures, progress in understanding and speaking, naturally and easily. Meets three times a week — come as often as you like!
NEW TUESDAY LOCATION IN LE MARAIS!
* Wednesdays 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. and
Death on the Seine
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