Famous Graves in Pére-Lechaise Cemetery, Paris

24 May 2014

Last weekend, I went with some friends, on a photo tour of Pére-Lachaise, the big, famous cemetery in Paris. We found several celebrity graves:

 Oscar Wilde:
(author and playwright)


I've had a long-time goal to kiss his monument... but, sadly, there is now a Plexiglas barrier around it (the kisses are considered graffiti, and the family doesn't like having to pay for the cleaning) so, no kiss from me, Oscar. *sulk*  

Some people have climbed onto the neighboring stone, to reach the little part of the monument that's exposed. I considered it, for all of 2 seconds, and then I had a mental image of me falling and smashing my face, with blood and bone all over the glass and the ground... yeah. Nevermind. Besides which, I think it's not particularly polite to use someone's gravestone as a stepladder. 

The few brave, anarchist kisses that made it over the edge of the glass:

Jim Morrison:
(poet, singer, composer, and front-man for The Doors.)
Tucked away in a corner, Morrison's tomb is well-visited, but the energy was really uplifting. I could feel a kind of joy coming off of many of the on-lookers, which created a generally pleasant atmosphere around the grave.

Sadly, the beautiful bronze bust of Jim's head was stolen decades ago,
 but little trinkets and flowers remain.

Just as kisses are to Oscar Wilde, chewing gum is to the tree beside Jim Morrison. 
Yes. Chewing gum. Seriously ?! wtf ?! 

 The tree has been recovered in bamboo fencing, and no doubt they replace it every few years. (I was really careful not to touch it.. eww... gum... so nasty.)

Edith Piaf:
(singer and composer)
Surprisingly traditional (and religious), yet an exquisite marble!

(author, actress, feminist, 1st woman to have a state funeral in France) 

Like Piaf, Colette's stone is rather discrete and unassuming. 
I really like the elegant epitaph that reads, quite simply, "Here lies Colette".


A surprisingly modern stone, quite different than anything else that surrounds it, Appolinaire's stone stands like rustic monolith, a testament to both the ancient and wild beauty of nature, and the experimental and progressive aesthetics of the mid-20th century.

Allan Kardec: 
(philosopher, and one of the founding-fathers of the Spiritualist movement)

 When we arrived to Kardec's grave, an elderly man and his wife were there;  the man was standing to the side of the monument, gently resting his hand on the shoulder of Kardec's bust. His eyes were closed, his face moved with emotion and reverence, and I could see that he had been crying... it was very intense, and yet quite tender.



Iris said...

I loved visiting Pere Lachaise when I went to France when I was 18!

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