25 July 2015

Pere Lachaise Part 1

With limited time to spend in Paris, I had some trouble deciding what to do on the second day. It's Paris--you could spend a lifetime there and not see everything. It didn't take me long to settle on Pere Lachaise Cemetery; as with the lavender fields of Provence, I've wanted to see it since I first heard about it. I didn't regret my choice. Pere Lachaise is a beautiful and peaceful oasis in the city. If you enjoy taking pictures, you will not run out of subject matter here. I also recommend taking along a guide. So obvious in retrospect, I didn't realize until I was there that you can hire cemetery guides. While I enjoyed wandering around on my own, I caught snippets of what other people's guides were saying and it sounded like it would be well worth it to have someone take you through--especially if there are specific graves you want to see. Despite knowing the general area it was in and making an effort to find it, I never did come across Oscar Wilde's tomb.

My time taking photos was cut short because my camera battery decided this was the trip to start having problems holding a charge (next time I'm bringing my telephoto lens and an extra battery). But I still ended up with too many photos for one post, so I'm breaking them into smaller parts. Enjoy :)

I started from the Bd. Menilmontant entrance

Inside a tomb

Many of the tombs contain stained glass windows, although you usually have to peek inside to see them.

These floral arrangements are ceramic. There are similar ones throughout the cemetery, in tombs and on graves. I think they're gorgeous. I checked to see if any shops in the area sold them but all I saw were the typical silk and plastic flower arrangements you can get anywhere; I guess the ceramic ones are from an earlier time. It's a shame. I would buy one of those wreaths in a second.
This amazing window was enclosed so you can only see it from the back. Imagine going to the trouble of creating something like this that will only ever be properly seen inside a tomb.
"A Notre Soeur Regrettee" (To Our Late Sister)

There were a number of crows hanging out at Pere Lachaise but only this one posed for me.

Just when you feel as though you're in another time and place, you see some modern buildings behind the tombs...

There were a couple of monuments to "victime de devoir." This caught my eye because as far as I knew, "devoir" meant homework (as in what our French teacher used to assign us) and a newspaper in Quebec. I looked it up and it turns out devoir means duty, so I believe these monuments are to those who died in the line of duty.

Many of the tombs were damaged or in disrepair, but somehow that added to the charm.

Colette's grave. Writer and cat lover. Her daughter, Colette de Jouvenel, is also buried here.

Rene de Buxeuil: Composer and songwriter

Just hanging out

The Count d'Ornano was second cousins with Napoleon Bonaparte. In 1816 he married Napoleon's former mistress Marie Walewska. When she died in childbirth a year later, her heart was placed in this crypt (the rest of her was returned to her native Poland). Isn't history fun?

Just in case you needed some new inspiration for your nightmares.

Street sign within the cemetery.
Next Post: Pere Lachaise Part 2

Missed one of my posts about France? 
Provence the Beautiful
Paris: Part 1
Paris: Part 2
Paris: Part 3

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