Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Our Week in Paris - 2009

Pere Lachaise was one of our first destinations - it wasn't that far from our apartment in the 11em. We hopped on the Metro which was only a short walk to the entrance. We decided to start from the top end as it would be all downhill from there to the exit.

I think we were on line 3 and alighted from the Metro at Gambetta station. It was in Napoleon's time that Pere Lachaise opened in 1804. Wikipedia tells me that both La Fontaine and Moliere's remains were the first to be transferred there. As more famous people's remains were transferred there, it became the place to rest by the rich and famous.

As you walk the cemetery, you get to view not only the final resting places of the many famous names but also to see some amazing pieces of sculpture. It's almost as much a gallery as it is, a cemetery. The sculptures above the grave sites range from the most intricate works of art of over 200 years to the very Art Deco style tomb of Oscar Wilde. The sculpture above his resting place is covered, literally covered in lip stick kisses.

Other tombs have miniature chapels above them, the size of a phone booth. As we walked among the grave sites with no real plan in mind, we stumbled among some favorite names of politics, the arts and the sciences.
All walks of life have found a place to rest at Pere Lachaise.

In fact, Napoleon declared that all had the right to find a final resting place at Pere Lachaise regardless of race or religion.
As we walked the cobbled pathways, we gave a nod to Jane Avril - I remember the posters of Jane Avril painted by Toulouse Lautrec. Others we passed by were of course Oscar Wilde, Sarah Bernhardt, Chopin, Edith Piaf and so many painters around the world that were drawn to Paris as the hub for so many painters over many centuries.
To walk the pathways of Pere Lachaise is to absorb yourself in another side of French history.
Sadly we couldn't find the modest grave of Jim Morrison - lead singer of the Doors.

I was amazed by the fantastic sculptures above the tombs to the extent, I felt I could have been strolling through an art gallery at times.
These little chapels were no bigger than a phone box. Just big enough to offer a prayer to a loved one.
A youth with the family dog, I wonder how young he was - such a short life.
The lip stick kisses on the grave of Oscar Wilde.
I have no idea whom this grave belongs. Was it of the woman draped across it or was she the mourning wife of the man buried here?
It was a quite warm day from memory but with the dappled shadows from the trees overhanging, it was very pleasant.
From the grand........
To the not so grand.

So if you are ever in Paris and not been to Pere Lachaise - put it on your list for a lazy morning or afternoon stroll.
Or - if you have been, leave us a comment on your experience.

7 comments:

  1. No we have not been to Pere Lachaise, so much of Paris we have not seen. The cemeteries in France all amaze me, from the smallest to the largest, they all have some amazing buildings and structures. Have a good evening Diane

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    1. You and Nigel live in one of of the most beautiful countries. Hop on ya bikes and see more.
      Beware, we return 2014.

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    2. Sorry my English was terrible and I hit publish without reading it!!
      Looking forward to 2014 we may then manage to get out and see more then :-) Lots of building and painting going on here at the moment. You will have to come and stay a few nights with us in 2014. D & N

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  2. Die Welt besuchen und betrachten, eine lange Reise braucht es nicht, denn mit einem Klick ins Land der Blogger hat man alles schnell im Blick...

    Lieben Gruß und Sonnenschein
    CL

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  3. Oh, I would have loved to stroll through PL with you both. I have been in sun and rain, cold and warm. It is different in every season and reveals a treasure on each visit. I am always drawn to cemeteries in a city as they tell much of the history and culture of an area.

    Bises,
    Genie

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    Replies
    1. Genie, nice to hear from you - we visit your Blog and love your pics.
      Thanks for popping in.

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