Napoleon I is buried in SIX coffins. Really, it's true... and whenever I hear that statement, I crack up...
On our first trip to Paris, we went totally blind. No guide, no help, no group tour, nothing. It was the biggest blessing to tour Paris this way... it's the only way in my opinion, as long as you have tons of patience. We were constantly lost, tired, and hungry. How our marriage survived and thrived during that first trip remains a mystery.
So one day we ventured out, and for the very first time during that trip, we went exactly right to the spot we needed... no back tracking... no deer-in-the-headlights look... we walked right up to the Rodin museum. See how proud I look???
This photo was taken about 30 seconds before I read the sign... CLOSED on Mondays! I thought I would cry. We slowly walked away, and came upon this magnificent building.
I said to Scott, "Hey... I've seen this building in the book...I think we are supposed to see this, I think it's important." (That's how clueless we were). We crossed the street, and realized it was Invalides... I quickly scanned the guidebook, and explained to Scott that it's a war museum, and where Napoleon is "buried"... (well... sort of). Inside we were not disappointed. It is a beautiful building full of war memorabilia... Scott's favorite.
I read in the guidebook that Napoleon is entombed in six coffins. As we wandered the museum, I looked around, confused. Everything was in French, of course, and for the life of me, I couldn't grasp the six coffin concept. I saw lots of coffins...his brother, other military leaders, etc. In the center of the building, is one huge beautiful casket...
All I could think was...
"This must be where his head is. It's the biggest, most elaborate one... but I wonder where the other five caskets are??? What is the reason... did they put the legs in one, the arms in one, the torso..."
I thought the whole thing a little macabre! Finally, I mentioned this to Scott, and well... he stared at me a moment, and started laughing. I hate not to be in on the joke, but instinctively, I started laughing too, a nervous laughter. He said, and I quote, "The coffins are inside one another you idiot." This was said with love and care of course.
Here's the explanation, that I guess should have been obvious:
The first coffin is tin, the second mahogany, the third and fourth lead, the fifth ebony, and the sixth porphyry. Porphyry simply means stone. (answers.com)
We still laugh about this! I wonder... has anyone else thought what I thought???