Many cities have haunted stories. Paris just happens to be one of the more beautiful ones.
In the 1700’s Paris was running out of space for living people and needed a solution so they decided to relocate the dead. Utilizing former stone quarries which snake underneath the heart of the city the choice was made to relocate all the bones from the cimetière des Innocents graveyard and create what we now know as the catacombs. Starting in the 1780’s bones were relocated from cemeteries all over the city until 1814. It would be another 40+ years before the catacombs became open to visitors. What these visitors would see are rows of artfully displayed human bones lining the walls of the former quarry. Skulls stacked together on one wall and femurs along another. In many places the bones are organized into intricate patterns. Any bones that didn’t fit into the designs were heaped behind the walls. It is said that the spirits of the displaced and disassembled haunt the location. People have been reporting paranormal activity for decades. Everything from orbs in photos to shadowy figures lurking in the corridors. It is said that I have only been there once and didn’t have the time to linger very long. It’s definitely worth seeing in person, just make sure you have plenty of time to spend. Photography is now only permitted with special permission to protect the integrity of the bones so you will have to rely on your memory.
The largest cemetery in Paris is home to many notable residents like Marcel Marceau, Frederic Chopin, Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde. It is also the most visited cemetery in the world. Morrison is said to haunt the area around his grave occasionally showing up in photos. Unfortunately he didn’t show up in mine above. Marcel Proust and Maurice Ravel, lovers in life, are said to rise at night in search of each other in death. Visitors also claim that Adolphe Thiers (prime minister under King Louis-Philippe) tugs at the clothing of those near his tomb. Other orbs and disembodied spirits have also been reported through out the grounds. I wasn’t lucky enough to see or capture anything paranormal. Even without a ghost sighting the cemetery is incredibly beautiful.
The only museum in the world dedicated entirely to vampires it is now on the top of my to do list while living here in France. It’s a small room and garden owned and operated by self-proclaimed ‘vampirologist’ Jacques Sirgent who has collected all the exhibits personally. Exhibits include authentic vampire hunting kits and a mummified cat. The museum is private so if you want to visit you need to book in advance.
Surprised to see this on the list? You shouldn’t be. For some odd reason more than 400 people have jumped from the 1889 World’s Fair entrance. Not everyone who plummeted from the tower perished. One woman who sprung from the top floor landed on a man’s car. After recovering she married the car’s owner. There are others who didn’t take the dive on purpose. It is said that the ghost of a woman who was murdered by a scorned lover still stands on the spot where she was last seen alive. Reportedly she giggles, then pleas, then screams.
There are also dozens of haunted walking tours you can find to help you explore the city. Whether you are looking for vampires, ghosts, or just stories of notable figures you can find what you are looking for.
I lived in NYC for approximately 8 years. Every winter seemed longer and colder than the last. Round about the middle of February is when I would start to lose my mind and climb the walls desperate for warmth. For those of you who may be feeling the same way right now here is a tropical vacation to dream about that also delivers some spooky elements.
The Bermuda Triangle
Also known as the Devil’s Triangle, the Bermuda Triangle exists mostly over open ocean. An area of ocean where a lot of unexplained disappearances have taken place. There are dozens of theories as to why this happens. These theories vary widely from plausible environmental explanations to UFO abductions. In between those extremes are stories of killer fogs and rips in space and time and the fantastical idea that the lost underwater city of Atlantis is protecting itself.. If you want to read more about the theories visit bermuda-triangle.org. The author of that site, Gian Quasar, has dedicated his life to researching the phenomena associated with the triangle. This post, however, is about vacations!
This is a photo of Elbow Beach Bermuda I took while on my honeymoon in 2013. Yup, we honeymooned in the Bermuda Triangle and lived to tell the story. The beaches are all as beautiful as this one. The sand color may vary, but the warm clear waters stay the same beach to beach. Of course there is far more to do in Bermuda than just lay on the beach all day.
There are snorkeling and diving opportunities galore, many are in or around the hundreds of shipwrecks that dot the ocean floor. Bermuda has no shortage of water related activities. You can charter a boat, go parasailing or kayaking, and even try flyboarding which is like a hoverboard powered by huge water jets. For the extra daring there are night time glass bottom boat tours available which take you out into the open waters of the triangle. They come complete with spooky stores of the wrecks you see below and a rum swizzle!
If you need to dry out for a day or two there are plenty of inland activities like exploring the town of St. George. This historic location features a working dunking stool (with live
es old churches and forts dating back to the 1600’s. You can also travel underground into the Crystal Caves. A large system of caves where you can stare in awe at the stalactites and stalagmites and the amazingly still and clear pond. For more information, ideas, and fancy photos visit gotobermuda.com.
San Juan, Puerto Rico is the southern most point of the triangle. There are two major parts to the city, Old San Juan and New San Juan. In Old San Juan is full of historic colorful homes, cobblestone streets and a UNESCO heritage sites. New San Juan features luxury beach front hotels with modern restaurants and shopping areas. I highly recommend exploring both areas. Visit sanjuanpuertorico.com for more information.
During our honeymoon we chose to spend more time on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques. It’s a small island with only one major hotel where the beaches are easily accessible and horses freely roam the streets. We visited specifically for the bioluminescent Mosquito Bay.
Mosquito Bay is one of the brightest bioluminescent bays in the world. Rent a clear canoe and row out in the middle of the night under a moonless sky and watch the water beneath you light up with bioluminescent phytoplankton. It looks like your going through space in hyperdrive. The most terrifying part is when the guides lock up your shoes and valuables before marching you into the dark muddy waters to enter the canoes. If the promise of floating through a pitch black night atop eerie glowing waters isn’t enough for you visit vieques.com for more travel info.
Interesting fact, you cannot travel directly from Bermuda to Puerto Rico. No one will take you, not by air or by sea. Even cruse ships will only go to one location or the other, but never both. Whether or not the triangle is a myth there are many people who do not want to take the risk of being lost to history. To get between the two locations you fly though the third point…Miami!
Most people don’t know that the triangle touches the mainland US. I’m not sure how many people in Miami know when they are or are not inside the invisible lines that define the triangle’s boarders. I think it’s fascinating that there may be hundreds of people standing inside the triangle or swimming in its waters completely unaware. It makes me giggle.
Miami is well known for the vibrant nightlife and hot beaches. There are over a dozen beaches to explore each with their own vibe and mix of activities. If you can think of an activity that involves the beach you can probably find a place to do it in Miami. Honestly you can find almost any activity you’re seeking; for families, or couples, or solo travelers, somewhere in Miami. Take a gander and the Miami and beaches website for ideas.
If you are living in the cold I hope this gave you a little tropical daydream to warm you up.