After seeing La La Land, I thought about the Aunt (in Emma Stone’s solo song) who purposely jumped into the River Seine and, as the lyrics go, “would do it again”. This got me to wondering if this leaping thing is fashionable amongst the Parisian set.
I uncovered a fascinating story of a purported suicide victim who was found in the Seine in the 1800’s whose flesh was so perfectly preserved that a cast model was made and commercially reproduced, eventually becoming the face of the CPR practice dummy known worldwide as Rescue Anne. Sometimes called the Mona Lisa of the Seine, because of her conspicuously inconspicuous smile, she has also been called L’Inconnue de la Seine and in French, Resusci Anne. Naturally, she also lays claim as “the most kissed lips in the world”.
So who was she, really? There are many theories of who the dead girl was but my arduous research (from the comfort of my Paris apartment whilst drinking coffee) yielded that the Lorenzi Family in Paris who makes masks of both the dead and living believe that Rescue Anne could not have been a corpse. The eyes of the cast show movement. Ew?
Searching for info on how many people die in the Seine each year, a plethora of dead people surfaced. Pun intended.
As recently as 1961, the Seine in Paris was the site of the intentional disposal by French authorities of at least 40 Algerians (some have this number as high as 300).
Throughout history of the Seine has been a floating graveyard. The always reliable Wikipedia has this to say: “The river is a popular site for both suicides and the disposal of bodies of murder victims.”
Indeed between 1795 and 1801, 306 bodies were pulled from the Seine. A special morgue was opened near the Notre Dame and the bodies were displayed for people to view and claim.
In 2007, more than one body per week on average was pulled from the Seine (on a brighter note, 140 were saved). In 2008, the body of one of the world’s first black supermodels, Katoucha Niane, was found floating near the Pont Alexandre III Bridge. How many deaths are intentional and how many are tragedies? I couldn’t get clear information on this from the comfort of my Paris bedroom. Back then to the Aunt in the La La Land song lyrics who “leapt without looking and tumbled into the Seine” the song goes on to say:
She captured a feeling, a sky with no ceiling
Time for me to get dressed and look for the sky with no ceiling. It’s sunny and 64 today in Paris. A perfect day for a stroll along the River Seine.