Père Lachaise Cemetery is one of the most popular tourist attraction in the city of lights and who can blame the tourists; its like walking through a history book. Here you will find the final resting places of some very famous people such as composers Vincenzo Bellini and Georges Bizet, the painter Max Ernst, playwright Moliere and singers Jim Morrison and Edit Piaf, to name but a very few.
Outside the cemetery, which covers 110 acres, you can often find someone selling maps so that you will easily be able to find the graves that you are looking for.
Other than the famous people buried there, you will also find some outstanding art work. Don't forget to check out Oscar Wilde's grave.
The front man of the 1960s band, The Doors, died while in Paris back in 1971 under mysterious circumstances (but most probably a drug overdose). The 27 year old was then buried in Pere Lachaise, which also happens to be one of the most visited Parisian tourist attractions.
The afternoon began with sunshine, lemon cake and coffee at the cafe directly across from the main entrance to the cemetery (the desserts there are so good!) It wasn't long after we begain walking the grounds that the sky quicky and drastically changed and the lighting in this photo is a completely natural reflection of the scene.
Ah, to be buried in Père Lachaise!! What more could you want? Jim Morrisson nearly went apoplectic trying to get the Parisian authorities to allow him to be buried there, and eventually succeeded, and, if his grave isn't the most ideally situated, lost as it is behind a gigantic edifice to some French writer, it is still one of the most visited. The cemetery is beautifully laid out - pardon the pun - with great rustling trees providing suitable ambiance and rows of serious-looking crypts and mausoleums lining the walkways, clad in a respectable amount of climbing ivy. I made my way quickly to Oscar Wilde's crypt, and like many others, left the pursed red ring of my lipstick mark on its marble wall, a kiss for his work and his courage, and fondly recalled a line from his play, The Importance of Being Ernest: 'One must be serious about something, if one wants to have any amusement in life.'
During 4 days in Paris in October, for our 38th anniversary, we spent several hours at the infamous Pere Lachaise cemetery, where the likes of Jim Morrison of the Doors, and iconic contributors to the arts over the last several centuries are entombed, e.g., Chopin, Proust, Oscar Wilde, Gertrude Stein, Balzac, Seurat, Edith Piaf, Moliere and Sara Bernhardt. We bought our map laying out the whole massive (110 acres) plot locations and targeted the ones we wanted to find, photograph and be awed by. The artistic and sculptural renderings in many were well worth our efforts through the maze of avenues within these grounds. At times, the ominous nature of this venue was made obvious with ravens atop the oldest and decaying crypts.
A very somber part of Pere Lachaise was a segment where many different sculptures were erected, depicting the many lives lost during the Nazi occupation of France. The haunting, torturous, mouths-wide-opened and skeletal portrayals of victims were a reminder of something that belies our humanity.
An interesting moment during our scavenger-like hunt was at Jim Morrison's grave where young Germans were honoring him, the irony being that they were born after he had died and we had actually seen him perform in person during the 1960's!
A refreshing experience on our walk back to the Latin Quarter was encountering a very cool bar on Blvd. Beaumarchais named "Cuba Compagnie Café", where we had mojitos and toasted those we visited at Pere Lachaise.