Paris: Three Days of Tartare Tasting

By Irina

Louvre Museum. Paris, France.

The Louvre

What are the most common sights of Paris? Of course, the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, but to write about them is a little bit trivial. Of course, I’m enraptured by Venus de Milo since I have to make great efforts to emulate such an ideal of beauty and slenderness. That’s why I’ll tell you about one uncommon and delicious dish which can’t harm your figure, and which we were eating during our trip to Paris: a beef tartare.

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Montmajour Abbey and the Necklace of the Decapitated Queen

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Ruins of Montmajour Abbey, France.

Ruins of Montmajour Abbey

Montmajour is the oldest abbey in Provence, France. Its construction started long ago in the year 948. When the mighty Roman Empire collapsed, these southern lands passed to the French Crown, and warriors and monks came to settle here.

Eight hundred years later, the last abbot of Montmajour became Cardinal de Rohan, infamous for his participation in the Queen Marie Antoinette necklace affair. This almost detective story accelerated the beginning of disorder and the further collapse of the monarchy in France. However, let’s start with the abbey, and then we’ll tell the story of the famous and vanished-without-a-trace necklace that allowed Alexandre Dumas to write his novel, “The Queen’s Necklace.”

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Le Mont Saint Michel—The Grave of God

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There are very few such places on Earth. Since olden times, people have chosen these same places in order to talk to gods. Why? The answer becomes evident with the first glance at Le Mont Saint Michel (Mount of Saint Michael), regardless of the constructions erected by humans in this very place. This granite cliff amid the sea is so unreal that even we, the modern people, perceive it as a creation by God for himself, not for humans. It is a so-called mausoleum of God.

Morning. Mont St. Michel, Normandy, France.

More than two thousand years ago, the Mont Saint-Michel was called Mont Tombe (Mount Tomb), but it had never been a place of grief. Many centuries B.C., it was one of the most spiritual places for Druids. Here they talked to their gods, with Belenus prime among them. Belenus, “the shining one,” means the sun and everything connected to it: fire, warmth, fertility, spring, and life. His symbols are the circle and the swastika (yes, the same old sign that has been besmirched by Hitler). His main holiday, Beltane, was celebrated on the 1st of May, after which winter with its cold should be gone, giving way to warmth and faring well.

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