It was a whirlwind tour of those famous individuals that continue to be a part of the present in the legacies they have left behind. We wind our way through the first cemetery in Paris, not far from where we stayed in the eleventh arrondissement, Pere Lachaise. We soon discover that purchasing a map at the entranceway would have been a worthwhile idea. Heading towards us are a mother-daughter duo, punked out with black tutus around their waists, oversized safety pins holding their shirts together and hair of various black, red and pink shades. They are folding up their map and it is clear they have just been to Jim’s grave. Moira inquires about its location and where they got their map.
After they leave us, it is decided that we do in fact need the map and as Moira is about to head to the entrance gate to purchase one, while Ali and I sit in the shade, still recovering from the night before, the funky duo comes back to us, offering up their map. We are sorted. We set off on a scavenger hunt of sorts in which we meet individuals we’ve admired, wondered about, read their famous words, listened to their musical talents, watched them on television, or have just begun to learn about. And this was just the first resting place. As our time in Paris came to a close we would have visited another “famous” cemetery as well as the crypt beneath the Panthenon. I had no idea that the city of lights and love would offer up such history in the stone cold context.
Winding our way through headstones creative, exorbitant, plain, family sized, artsy, hidden and well visited we found ourselves looking down at names and dates of several folks we can only imagine in a memory of history and the footprints they have left behind.
Cemetery One: Pere Lachaise
Charlie Chaplin, Chopin, Edith Piaf, Marcel Proust, Balzac, Delacroix, Oscar Wilde, Moliere, Jim Morrison
Cemetery Two: Montparnasse
Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, Jack Kevorkian, Baudelaire, Serge Gainsbourg, Samuel Beckett, Proudhon, and some other famous French folks
The Crypt: Panthenon
Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Rousseau, and some famous generals and other members of French military history
Pictures were taken and hopefully some will be added to the blog in the near future.