(7) Paris Sewerage Museum - Experience the guts of the monster that Jean Valjean of Les Misées stepped on! And other places related to the film

Impressions of the Summer Recounted in Autumn - Trip to Paris and Georgia

Paris Travelogue] (7) Paris Sewerage Museum - Experience the monster guts that Jean Valjean of Remisé stepped on! And other places related to him.

In this Paris stroll, there is one spot that I would highly recommend, even though it is maniacal.

That is the Sewerage Museum in Paris, which I will introduce here.

It was another version of the glamorous and beautiful city of Paris, a stench and filth-ridden Paris.

Paris was one of the most prosperous cities in the world during the 18th and 19th centuries. At the same time, however, we cannot overlook the negative aspects of this prosperity.

I have previously mentioned on this blog the book "The History of Smell [Olfaction and the Social Imagination]" by Alain Colvin, and what he tells us in this book is so shocking.

The book details how dirty and filled with a strong stench Paris was at the time, what sanitation measures were taken over time, and how citizens felt about the smell.

This book is quite intense. You could say that it is a book that inspires a sense of dread, that Paris was the dirtiest and most stench-filled city in the world.

It was against this background that the culture of perfume developed, and the process of linking culture and smell was very interesting.

For the Japanese, who are abnormally fond of cleanliness, it would definitely be interesting to learn about such sanitary conditions in other countries. However, those who do not want to ruin the image of Paris they long to visit may not force themselves to read this book.

Paris, which had been too dangerous from a hygienic standpoint as a city "covered in filth," underwent a drastic change in the latter half of the 19th century. The catalyst for this change was the Second Empire of Napoleon III. He carried out a major project called the "Great Reform of Paris," which created the beautiful cityscape of Paris today.

As I mentioned in the article above, this was the beginning of a new sewerage system not only for new roads and buildings, but also for the improvement of public sanitation.

There had certainly been sewers in Paris before this. However, they were added one after another in an unplanned manner, and it became a labyrinth-like situation where one could hardly tell what the inner structure was like. And it has a history of being inhabited by outlaws who took advantage of such a situation. That is why Thénardier in "Les Misérables" was hiding there.

And our own Jean Valjean has just stepped through the sewers of Paris, such a terrifying magical palace.

This is the entrance to the Sewerage Museum. It is much cleaner and more modern than I had imagined.

As you go down the stairs, you enter an area that is actually used as a sewer system.

Finally, the Sewerage Museum begins. Will we be able to feel the underground world that Jean Valjean walked through?

As the name implies, the Sewerage Museum has a variety of exhibits about the sewerage system. I was worried that the smell might be too strong since it is located in the sewers, but I did not notice any bad odor as soon as I entered the museum.

When we reached the area where the water was flowing, we could smell it. The dampness of the area probably makes it smell even more so. But I have smelled this smell somewhere before... Yes, the smell of the toilets in a tavern under the elevated railway in Yurakucho. That distinctive smell of sewage.

So if it smells that bad, I think I can manage to spend some time there without any problems. As expected, they would not turn the place into a museum to the extent that the stench would be unmanageable. I was quite relieved. I had been so worried that the smell might get on my clothes.

I was surprised to see that it showed a longer distance than I had expected. The sound of running water and the gurgling of ducts echoed through the air.

When you reach this area, you can visibly see that the water is quite muddy. The smell is also somewhat tighter. I definitely don't want to fall in. But Jean Valjean was carrying Marijus on his back, who was hundreds of times dirtier than this, through the sewage. Unbelievable...

He said it was off-limits from here. I laughed and wondered who would go there.

The places we had walked so far were brightly lit by lights. But if you think about it, there was no electricity in the sewers at that time, of course. In this photo, the sewer is lit up a little, but from this point on, the real sewer is truly dark. Moreover, the sound of the water is quite intense, and this makes the fear many times greater than it is in the picture.

Jean Valjean had to walk through such a place without light and without knowing the way. Moreover, it was a former sewage system, so the environment was far worse than this. Even so, Jean Valjean survived. Coming to the Sewerage Museum, I could not help but be amazed at the monster that Jean Valjean was.

I used to beSignificance of Jean Valjean, the protagonist of L'émisé: a shining heroic figure in the history of world literature, symbolizing the gods and Christ."I introduced this Jean Valjean's sewer = monster's gut trudging in the article of "The Sewer = The Gut of the Monster", and I would like to quote that passage again here.

The escape scene from the monster's guts seems as if it were written for film. Fear of the dark, fear of getting lost, fear of drowning, fear of being trapped - these "nightmare switches" can be filmed with a single actor and a very inexpensive set. It is not too difficult to show Jean Valjean overcoming obstacles along the way, and the moral victories are tangible. The limp but still breathing young man on his back is the one whom Jean Valjean might wish dead. If he survives, he will be deprived of the very reason for his life, the object of all his love and care.

Jean Valjean, carrying a heavy load, continues to walk through the foul-smelling, almost eye-level sewage, transforming himself from Hercules and Theseus to a Christ-like figure carrying a cross. His escape from the sewers elevates "Les Misérables" to a grand scale that cannot be confined to the framework of a nineteenth-century novel. A legend was created, and the characters were transformed into mythological figures.
Some line breaks have been made.

Hakusuisha, David Bellos, The Birth of the Novel of the Century "Les Miserables", translated by Mitsuko Tateishi, P164-165

As we see here, Jean Valjean was also a figure created in the likeness of mythological gods and Christ.

In another passage, it also states.

This extraordinary feat brings Jean Valjean closer to the figures of myth and legend. The de-mountainization from the sewers seems to be one of the twelve meritorious deeds of Heracles, and is reminiscent of Theseus' journey to the underworld. But this is also the hill of Golgotha. This is because the hero of the Passion carries a burden as heavy as any cross. After hours of struggle in the darkness and the miasma, Jean Valjean reaches the lighted exit, only to find a fanged guard waiting for him at the gate. The gatekeeper of the hellish exit was Thénardier. Like a fishing float that rises again and again even after being dunked in the sea, only Jean Valjean, who revives again and again from his predicament, can match Thénardier's astonishing tenacity.

Hakusuisha, David Bellos, The Birth of the Novel of the Century "Les Miserables", translated by Mitsuko Tateishi, P163

We carry our burdens and go through hardship.

It was also the path of Golgotha that Christ followed. And more to the point, the survival from the monster's guts is the very motif of the Old Testament book of Jonah. Jonah is swallowed by a giant fish, but survives. This story is a metaphor for the resurrection of a great man who is swallowed by darkness. This is a myth common to many religions around the world.

'Spit me out by a big fish.Jonah.The "®" (Gustave Doré.)Wikipedia.

The Jonah is also depicted on a giant scale in that Michelangelo ceiling painting in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican.

Jonah on the ceiling of Michelangelo's Sistine ChapelWikipedia.

It can be seen that large fish are also depicted here, albeit on a smaller scale.

And incidentally, it is interesting to note that Michelangelo was referring to ancient Roman sculpture when he painted this picture.

For more information.What are the characteristics of Michelangelo's works and their appeal? The Connection with Ancient Roman Art: The Vatican, Italy (3)"article, but the way the abdomen and legs are painted clearly shows the influence of this ancient Roman sculpture. The connection between Michelangelo and ancient Rome is also a very interesting theme.

Now, I have digressed a bit, but Remisée is truly profound. Hugo's intentions are scattered in many scenes that are casually mentioned. The more you know about Remisé, the more interesting it is. The more you know about it, the more interesting Remisé becomes.

Jean Valjean is tormented by numerous difficulties and conflicts, but each time he rises strongly and revives.

One scene of that revival unfolded here in the sewers of Paris.

As a lover of "Les Miserables," this was a very pleasant pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

As an added bonus to this article, I would also like to introduce some places associated with the Remisée.

This is the Luxembourg Park, a walking trail in Marijus.

In the musical and film, he and Cosette run into each other by chance, fall in love at first sight with each other, and immediately fall in love, but in the original story, the love is surprisingly platonic, and moreover, it never develops.

A father and daughter are always present on Mariyus's walking route. Mariyus was fascinated by the daughter and looked forward to her daily walks, and he did his best to watch her from afar.Les Misérables ㈢ Part III Marijus.Then we will witness such a frustrating love of Marijus.

This is the area where the biggest show of Remisé is said to have taken place, the attack and defense of the barricade. Although the appearance of the barricade has changed considerably since then, it is not exactly the same as the original, but it is exciting to think that Marius and Angiolus were fighting in this area.

And, after all, the home of Hugo, the author of "Les Miserables," is also a must-see pilgrimage.

And the previous article(6) Tour of Paris and Balzac's places of interest: Boulogne Forest, Balzac's house, and Pere Racuse cemetery.As I mentioned in my previous article, Jean Valjean is buried in the Pere Lachaise cemetery. I would like to mention this place as one of the major points of pilgrimage to Remisée.

There are many other places associated with L'émisée, but these are the ones we have introduced for now. If you would like to know more about these places, please click here.Theater District.I would like to recommend a website called It is very useful because it provides very detailed explanations of the places associated with Remisé. It is a site that has helped me a lot. I highly recommend it.

be unbroken

Next Article.

Click here to read the previous article.

Related Articles