Yes, yes, I did go to the Louvre Museum and that post will be along shortly. I also did the Seine river boat tour, which was surprisingly good, especially the wonderful shots I got of the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. However, grave yards and high performance cars seem to be a subject that might spike my blog ratings. Ha. I’ll go with that this morning, before doing my laundry and hitting the streets of Paris for one last day of sight seeing. Tomorrow, I fly home to Casa de Melikean in Denver, Colorado, ending my epic journey around the world.
The cemetery is called Père Lachaise and it is the largest one in Paris, 110 acres. The cemetary isn’t that old, as it was established in 1804. Also, it wasn’t that popular a burial site with the Paris public, primarily due to people not wanting to go that far away from the city center of that time period; and, the cemetery not being blessed by the Roman Catholic church. However, the cemetary administrators came up with a marketing strategy, where with great fanfare, they buried two huge celebrities of that era, Jean De La Fontaine and Moiliere. Afterwards, people were clamoring to be buried there. Today, there are approximately 1 million bodies at the cemetery. In fact, there is no more space in the cemetery and the way the administrators get around that conundrum is by literally “stacking” bodies in existing family plots and issuing standard 30 year leases. If your family doesn’t pay up, they are “boxed up” and moved out of the cemetery to another Père Lachaise storage site. Weird.
So, Angie and I were on a quest to find 5 grave sites. Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, Frederick Chopin, Gertrude Stein, and Oscar Wilde. There are many other famous people buried at this cemetery, but this was our top 5 and besides, we didn’t want to seem too ghoulish. Grin. We had a Rick Steves map – which turned out to suck big time, albeit it got us in the general direction of all the grave sites. Jim Morrison proved to be the toughest grave site to find – almost a half hour. We only found it because there were quite a few people still there (as it was late in the day, just before closing time). The actual tombstone is understated and conservative compared to the grand mausoleums and other statuary that you see at this cemetary. It’s now barricaded as well, due to all the singer’s fans that visit the site and unfortunately, damage (graffitti) to other adjacent graves.
Next, we found Edith Piaf’s site and there were quite a few fans by her burial site as well. Frederick Chopin was easy to find due to Angie’s great map reading skills. Also, it had a picture of the tombstone, so we had an idea of what it looked like. Same deal with Oscar Wilde – who had the most impressive grave site, with a large granite rectangular statue marking his grave. However, as I said earlier, we couldn’t find Gertrude Stein’s grave site. As it was near closing time, we gave up and decided to leave. Actually, we probably had no choice, as the cemetery guard was yelling at quite a few people to leave as we approached the rear exit.
I also mentioned high performance cars. Earlier yesterday, I was walking by this very beautiful and obviously, expensive hotel and spotted a Porsche and Ferrari, side by side. Nice. I decided to take a few photos. Enjoy!