Losing our heads

Well, it’s officially la rentrée (back-to-school) in Paris! I didn’t realize how empty the city had been until all the locals came back—now it’s definitely bustling. And between the tourists that haven’t left yet and the shops that are just reopening, it seems like everyone is going a little extra crazy these days.

Losing our heads, you might say.

Like this unfortunate Femme Sans Tête (Teste is old French):


Just kidding—”she” is actually Saint Nicolas, and he lost his head during the Revolution, long before the street was named, when revolutionaries set out to destroy all things religious or royal. Supposedly the street name came from the evocative signage of an old bistro.

While we’re on the topic of lost heads, I lopped off another bucket list item and went to see the old guillotine stones near Père Lachaise cemetery recently. You’d have no idea about their gruesome history based on the way people walked right over them without suffering so much as a stubbed toe.


See those five flat rectangles? They’re guillotine footings.

I suppose Saint Nicolas and those five flat stones are good reminders that, while I may not love the sans-tête hustle and bustle on the streets these days, considering history, I’ll happily stick with the metaphorical.

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