Pere Lachaise Cemetery — Paris   1 comment

Doesn’t everyone visit cemeteries while on vacation?  Okay, probably not.  Certainly my daughter thinks I’m strange — for that and probably a few other reasons.  But as I mentioned in an earlier post, Pere Lachaise claims the title of world’s most visited cemetery.  So when in Paris . . .

Covering 110 acres, Pere Lachaise requires a map to navigate if you are looking for a particular gravesite (like Jim Morrison’s, Oscar Wilde’s, or Frederic Chopin’s).  Otherwise, you can simply wander the meandering cobblestone paths that snake past acre after acre of graves, some simple and some grandiose.  Several websites place the number at more than 300,000.  There is some dispute as to the actual number of persons buried here due to the custom of burying multiple family members in the same grave.  Plots can be purchased in perpetuity or leased for periods of 10, 30, or 50 years.  So yeah, if the lease isn’t renewed . . .

Some of the graves have deteriorated over the centuries (or to borrow a line from one of my favorite movies, they bear “the patina of a bygone era”), while others are freshly maintained. Formerly magnificent monuments in a state of deterioration add an aura of spookiness that, to me, emphasizes death as the “great equalizer”.

Or maybe it’s just the wine that I’m drinking while I work on this post.  In any case, enough macabre philosophizing.  Here are some images from this unique place.

(Above) Location: Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris.  To many Americans these look like mausoleums.  They are actually small “chapels” (for lack of a more precise term) where family members can come to offer prayers, leave flowers, etc.  Remains are below ground.

(Above) Location: Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris.  A view inside one of the deteriorating “chapels”.  On the wall is a likeness of one “Nicolas Perducet”.  I have no reason for relating that information other than that it appears his name and his monument are slipping into oblivion.

(Above) Location: Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris.  There is little wasted space between the 300,000+ grave sites.

(Above) Location: Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris.  It is easy to forget that the cemetery is in the midst of one of the world’s major cities.

(Above) Location: Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris.  Bright colors of nature, even in December.

(Above) Location: Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris.  Oscar Wilde’s grave — as flamboyant as the man himself.  The plexiglass was recently added to discourage women (and maybe some men?) from the popular practice of leaving red lipstick kisses on his tombstone.  The lipstick was apparently causing damage to the stone.

(Above) Location: Pere Lachaise Cemtery, Paris.  Unsurprisingly, the plexiglass surrounding Oscar Wilde’s grave now bears the lipstick-laden kisses of devoted visitors.

(Above) Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris.  Another monument succumbing to neglect and nature.

(Above) Location: Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris.  We found Jim Morrison’s grave near the top of this path.  More people were visiting Morrison’s final resting place than Chopin’s.

(Above) Location: Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris.


Posted January 17, 2012 by ~ Bruce in Architecture, Europe, Travel Photography

Tagged with ,

One response to “Pere Lachaise Cemetery — Paris

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Pingback: Staying in Paris

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: