Tuesday, 21 September 2010
Père Lachaise in Autumn
Twas an unusually beautiful autumn day last Saturday in Paris, to make the most of it we took a walk through beautiful Père Lachaise... ok it's a cemetery, but one should see it like a microcosm of a sleepy community of over 300,000 that appreciates all things beautifully created in antiquity for the living to appreciate. We'd discovered that benches dotted along the lanes have been removed since we were here last in 2005 unfortunately, I guess to discourage living visitors from hanging around for too long. The name of the cementery by the way takes after the confessor to Louis XIV, Pere Francois de la Chaise (1624–1709), who lived in the Jesuit house rebuilt in 1682 on the site of the chapel.
Indeed it is one of the most famous places in the world to visit, with the size of 118 acres (48 ha) it could take you hours to walk through the little street discovering famous tombs some the size of a granny flat of people from Paris not necessarily french in descent; like Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, Edif piaf, Max Ersnt, Marcel Proust just to name a few ubiquitous figures. Street signs are there to help aid visitors who are there for specific visits... I think Jim tops them all. But I do recommend getting hold of a map if you don't intend to get lost.
How funny is that when it first opened where it's situated was considered a little too far away from the city(it is in the city) hence attracted only a few funerals. Consequently, the administrators devised a marketing strategy and organized the transfer of the remains of some french philosopher, and nun scholar transferred to the cemetery with their monument's canopy made from fragments of the abbey of Nogenr-sur-Seine. I guess that's where the tipping point of all the extravaganza.
I don't think my pictures have done justice to what you could see there, so if you're interested in a fuller history and more pics of famous graves, click here (where you can find graves by their first intitial too!)or sign up with Père Lachaise facebook on "happenings" in the cem. teehee.