The Magnet #67: Things I've Seen in France, Part 1
Statues people like to touch, statues that seem like people, and tiny Art Nouveau buildings for departed people
Carla and I have been on vacation in France since September 3rd. We were concerned about the weather before we left because of reports of floods and droughts in different parts of the country, but the weather so far has been great. The temperature in Carcassonne is 71 degrees right now, perfect for drinking espresso in Place Carnot while watching people stroll by. This issue highlights some of the interesting things Carla and I have seen so far.
Bust of Dalida — Paris
This bronze sculpture of Dalida stands on Montmartre hill in Paris. She was an Egyptian-born French-Italian singer best known for the 1957 hit song "Bambino." Although her statue has darkened with oxidation, people like to pose for photos holding her breasts, so those parts remain bright and shiny. The golden breasts were especially noticeable until the maintenance staff polished the rest of her dress to make it appear like she was wearing a gold gown. In 2017 vandals defaced the statue, writing ACAB on her chest. Fortunately, the city was able to remove the markings from the statue. It reminded me of the statue I saw in Carcassonne, which showed a different part of a woman's anatomy polished by human hands. Since the photo might be considered NSFW, I will not directly post it, but here is a link.
Montmartre Cemetery — Paris
It is no wonder that Père-Lachaise is Paris's most renowned cemetery. Among the luminaries buried there are Proust, Oscar Wilde, Chopin, Balzac, Isadora Duncan, and Jim Morrison. However, Montmartre Cemetery is a close second. Carla and I saw it under a bridge as we walked across it. After going down the stairs at the end of the bridge, the groundskeeper warned us there wasn't much time left. The absence of other people made the event more enjoyable. The cemetery was opened in 1825 on the site of a former gypsum quarry. A mass grave was located here during the French Revolution. The famous people buried here include physicist André-Marie Ampère, fashion designer Pierre Cardin, Dalida (see above), author Alexandre Dumas*, silent film star Musidora, filmmaker François Truffaut, and author Émile Zola. The ornate sepulchers containing the remains of families were particularly impressive. The Sepulture Delamare-Bichsel is an elegant Art Nouveau structure with a beautifully maintained mosaic interior.
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