Exploring the Crypt

[Photo Credit: Frederick H. Evans. Ancient crypt cellars in Provins, France, Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division, LC-DIG-ppmsca-13701.]

On her trip to Provins in the summer of 1898, Julia admired the crypt of the 13th-century Grange aux Dîmes, which she described to her cousins Pierre and Lucy LeBrun as “high and fine, [with] beautiful capitols [sic].” The Voulzie River runs through Provins, and, as Julia explained, “. . . the water does and always has, had the habits [sic] of rising and entering the cellars and churches, so the city . . . has been continually rising, which makes the floors rise. . . . The whole place is full of subterranean [caverns].” This was true of the Grange aux Dîmes, which had “vaulted caves below the crypte [sic].” Julia and her friend Sara Whitney apparently wanted to explore them, but were unable to, because “. . . we had no candle.”