Monday, June 25, 2012


Paris, France
The crypt of Heloise and Abelard.
Recovering from our kayaking weekend, we decided to stick close to home today, so we toured a cemetery with the kids.

Not just any cemetery but a world famous one. Our apartment is on the southern perimeter of Pére Lachaise, the haunt for a ridiculously huge number of well-known folks. If they weren't all dead, it would be mind-boggling to have them all in one place. Some notable ghosts here: Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, Chopin, Oscar Wilde, Sarah Bernhardt, Marcel Marceau, Gertrude Stein, Isadora Duncan, among others. Then there are famous people that you feel that you should know but are embarrassed to admit that you don't: Colette, Heloise, Théodore Géricault.

The first burial in Pére Lachaise was a five-year-old girl in 1804, and today, more than one million people are interred there. Most are buried underground, although all have crypts and tombs above ground, most about the size of a phone booth.

It is a city unto itself, this city of the dead. Seems like it should be creepy and foreboding. Instead, it is a lovely and sprawling bit of peace and shaded lanes in an otherwise bustling city.

Jim Morrison's grave, I expected to be mobbed and covered with flowers. It was neither. Instead, Chopin's was busy, and he had his own caretaker, although I cannot say if this was a paid or volunteer position.

We walked for hours, chatting, cracking jokes.

"Why is everything in Latin?"
"It's a dead language."

Who knew a cemetery could be so much fun.

I noticed much later that the stone behind Dylan says 'Dillon.' Creepy.
Chip delivering a flower (a very tiny one) to Edith Piaf.

Photographing Oscar Wilde's now-protected tomb.

Memorial to French Armenians who died for France in World Wars I and II.

No comments:

Post a Comment