21 Oct 2010

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Paris: Père Lachaise – Jim, Oscar and the gang

Paris: Père Lachaise – Jim, Oscar and the gang

Next stop on our Paris trail was Père Lachaise cemetery in the 20th arrondissment. Père Lachaise was set up as a cemetery by Napoleon in 1804. It’s pretty large as cemeteries go and has lots of very elaborate crypts and tombs. We were lucky enough to have some sunshine when we were there and it’s a very beautiful place to wander through.

Like many we bought a map showing the cemetery layout and where all the famous graves are. There are loads of famous people buried there including several philophers (Molière), composers (Chopin), artists (Marceau) and musicians (Piaf).

For us less cultured types though the prime destination was Jim Morrison’s resting place. Oscar Wilde’s grave came in second.

I wasn’t surprised to find pictures, records, candles and other offerings at Jim’s grave, nor a number of people of varying ages paying their respects in a number of ways (quiet solitude, jolly early morning beer drinking, listening to The Doors). What did fascinate me was the sheer volume of graffiti around the area – on surrounding graves and tombs, trees and the ground.

Oscar Wilde has a huge sculpture of an angel on his grave which I believe was  ‘done up’ about 15 years ago. Despite a polite plaque requesting the opposite this too was covered in messages and kisses from admirers.

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