Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris USO Trip

I am a volunteer with the USO in Heidelberg/Mannheim, and as such I “escort” tour to go different places. In the past last week I went to Paris. This time after we got our 2 hours guided tour with the bus, I send my group on their exploring time and since no-one ask to come along with me, I just took out on my own. I took the Boat shuttle from the Eiffel Tower to the Notre Dame stop. I was wanted to go to the top of the Notre Dame tower, but the waiting line was SO long, I just decided against it! I walk to the “Hotel de Ville” (City Hall) and took a few pics (you know me) and took the subway to the Père Lachaise Cemeteries. Cimetiere du Pere Lachaise Visite virtuelle Cemetery's virtual tour Jim Morrison Edith Piaf
For those of you who don’t know this cemetery here is a little info about it: “Père Lachaise is one of the most famous cemeteries in the world. Located in the 20th arrondissement, it is reputed to be the world's most-visited cemetery, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors annually to the graves of those who have enhanced French life over the past 200 years.../.. The cemetery was established by Napoleon I in 1804. Cemeteries had been banned inside Paris in 1786, after the closure of the Saints Innocents Cemetery (Cimetière des Innocents) on the fringe of Les Halles food market, on the grounds that it presented a health hazard. (This same health hazard also led to the creation of the famous Parisian catacombs in the south of the city.)”
(Père Lachaise Cemetery - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
My little walk in the cemetery was as always (since it was not the first time I went there) peaceful. I love walking in this particular cemetery. First you need a map (I got one at the entrance from an old guy that sold them and bad postcard of tombstone) and even with the map, you just get lost searching for whomever you want to see the grave of! I went up the hill and help a lady and her mother who, funny thing, were from the same area as my mother is: Brittany! So we talked a bit about it. We talked about why they were there, and not like I was they were there to visit a family member’s grave. You could see that it was hard for the older woman. It must have been one of the first visit to her sister’s grave, because she was so emotional and the sister passed away only a few month back!
Isn’t it amazing how one cemetery can be a “tourist attraction” and yet still be where people mourn their love one? It did reminded me that those grave weren’t just name, they were family member, lover, spouse, parent, child to someone else. It is something that one tends to forget walking in the Père Lachaise. Most of the people cruising along the graves are mostly interested to see the resting place of someone famous. But some other comes here out of respect.
I saw one gentleman who was taking care of Chopin’s grave, taking all the dead flower away and making the grave more “presentable”. He did a great job as you can see in the pictures, and just think. He was a fellow polish. So I don’t know if he came ALL the way from Poland to pay his respect, or if he lives in town, but either way, it was nice to see that 161 years after his death there is still someone who come take care of his gravesite.

I did found one grave that I thought was just funny. You can see that on the grave with this gorgeous sculpture, it say “Enfin Seul” (Finally Alone!) wonder how popular that guy was! ;-) and why he loved the fact to be alone at last. :-)

For those of you who want to see more of the pictures that I took, you can go here and check it out:

Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris France BLOG

De blog


Lala said...

Fantastique!! In all my times in Paris, I've never managed to get to Père Lachaise Cemetery and it's always on my To Do list. So for the moment this is my special tour of Père Lachaise. Merci Bien!

Mom in High Heels said...

J'adore Pere Lachaise! Your photos are, as usual, beautiful. If I were on your tour group, I'd have stuck with you. ;)