Built in the late 18th century, these subterranean tunnels now house the remains of over 6 million people. Mass graveyards were overflowing in Paris, so bodies were exhumed and transported there. During WWII, the Resistance used portions of the Catacombs as hideouts, even Nazis built bunkers down there.
There are tour guides given for the portion of the catacombs that are open to the public, though there are numerous secret passages and entrances throughout. If you take a tour guide, one of the first signs you will see reads “Arrête, c’est ici l’empire de la mort” which means Stop, this is the empire of death.
Though only about a mile of the catacombs is open to the public, it doesn’t stop people from sneaking in. People are advised against that as even experts get lost because a lot of the tunnels are not mapped. There is a legend of a man named Philibert Aspairt who got lost in the catacombs in 1793. His body was found 11 years after his death and its said that it was near an exit.
Last week, the worst nightmare of a museologist happened at the Musée de la Civilisation in Québec : a fire. Luckily, the museum’s team and the firefighters have been able to protect and save all of the artifacts and only two exhibitions rooms have been touched by the fire and water.
In a new project called “OMG, Who Stole My Ads?” French street artist Etienne Lavie makes it his mission to transform the ad space in Paris into an outdoor art gallery. He has been travelling around the city, snatching up posters and billboards, and replacing them with fine specimens of French art from an earlier era. If our senses have over-developed to the point where we need to be visually stimulated at all times outdoors, just to keep up continuity, then we might as well at least occasionally glimpse something that moves us—something we might elect to look at voluntarily. Lavie’s project gives that gift to a lucky subset of Parisian commuters.
The ghosts of Paris— ‘Time Frame’ a photoseries by New York based photographer Matthew Pillsbury. The images capture the passage of time itself in interiors of the Louvre, Palais Garnier, and Sainte Chapelle. His long exposure photographs were initially inspired by Hiroshi Sugimoto's works. Pillsbury has poignantly stated, “Much of photography is an attempt to stop the clock—to assert our presence: ‘I was here, I matter.’ Here, my photographs are doing something different: We are shown the fragility and fleeting nature of our presence.”
Constant Puyo often insisted that photography be considered as a legitimate art form. He himself was greatly affected by the art movements of the day, including, impressionism. He photographed Montmartre (1904) as an ode to Edvard Munch’s Rue Lafayette (1891). Constant Puyo’s devotion to all things ‘beautiful’ was legendary. For, like Johann Wolfgang von Goethe he believed, ‘beauty is the highest principle and the highest aim of art.’
Born as Émile Joachim Constant Puyo (November 12, 1857 – October 6, 1933), Puyo’s introduction to the world of art happened through his father. In fact, his tryst with camera began when he used it as a tool to photograph his drawings. The camera became his trusted companion during his trips across Europe and North Africa. Constant Puyo was a pioneer among the pictorialists. In 1894, he joined the Photo Club of Paris which he served for more than thirty years before retiring as a president.
Before his death in 1933, Puyo established himself as the pre–eminent photographer of his day. He effectively used a soft focus technique to bring about an enigmatic quality to his visual essays. Camera in hand he sought to tell the untold stories of wild flowers as vividly as the everyday lives of rustic folks. Figures of women, sometimes in contemplative and at other times in playful moods, graced his photographic plates. Without fail and irrespective of the subject, Constant Puyo’s photography remained faithful to beauty and harmony in their truest senses.