Saturday, December 6, 2014

Cimetière du Pere Lachaise

Things to do in Paris from memory include famous place like...
Pyramid du Louvre - CHECK
Picnique a cote de Tour Eiffel - CHECK
Musee D'Orsay - CHECK
Montmarte and the Basilique du Sacre Couer - CHECK

To the admiring the stained glass at the...
Cathédrale de Notre Dame de Paris - CHECK 
Sainte-Chapelle - CHECK
Galleries La Fayette - CHECK

And things to do around Paris...
Disneyland Paris - CHECK
Château de Versailles - CHECK
La Maison et le Jardin de Claude Monet in Giverny - CHECK

But one thing I've never done, until my last visit that is, which came highly recommended from Yahoo's Paris Top 10 List in 2006, was visit the Cimetière du Pere Lachaise.

In fact, I remember having an argument discussion with Tim, when he and Jem came to visit in 2006, when he wanted to do EVERYTHING on Yahoo's Top 10 list, including visiting the invisible Domus Aurea in Rome, while Jem and I vetoed everything that didn't sound interesting to us then.

One of the things I remember clearly crossing off the list was the Cimetière du Pere Lachaise, I remember the argument going something like - "why do we need to go there Tim??? Do we even know anyone buried there?" and since it was way before the day and age when everyone had an internet connection at their fingertips... Tim probably answered something like "Hindi ko alam!!! Pero nasa Top 10 sya!" (I don't know, but it's in the Top 10!) To which I am sure we replied something like, so let's not go and shop instead.

Well, it's really nice to keep coming back to countries you love, because eventually, there will come a point (or a trip) when you ask yourself, what else have I not done in Paris that seems interesting, and last May, my really nice landlady told me that Cimetière du Pere Lachaise was worth visiting, especially since it was near one of the restaurants on my to eat list, so I finally found myself going for a visit.

The cemetery is quite huge, but at every entrance there's
a map to guide you, which has a numbered list of all the
famous people buried there.
It's actually a laundry list, alphabetized by last name, with the profession
on the side. I recognized a few, but I only wanted to look for Oscar Wilde.

It was surprisingly nice to walk around the Cemetery.

There was even a tour group, but it was in French, so I told myself it was
too much trouble to eavesdrop (and translate the little that I understand).
There are some parts where you even get a really good view of the city.
This guy Jean Carries must be famous, because I saw
people taking his picture. Turns out he was a sculptor.
I started worrying when it started getting dark, while I was exploring in the
middle of this huge cemetery.
I was already thinking to myself, if it pours (yes, this was the only day I had
no umbrella) where do I hide?
Creepy... but I told myself, I could always hide in
one of the mausoleums. Hahaha.
Good thing it didn't rain very hard, so it was fine
to stand under one of the ceilings. That was creepy enough.
I didn't have to enter one of these. But I would have.
The streets are well marked, so it was easy to find
Oscar Wilde's tomb. 
Just follow the ladies wearing lipstick! Kidding!!!
Oscar Wilde's Tombe has been renovated so it's no longer possible to kiss
it and leave a lipstick mark or leave graffiti love notes.

It seemed that the lipstick kisses and graffiti love notes which started in the 90s got so serious that there even if there was a €9,000 fine – if someone gets caught - most perpetrators were said to be tourists, so they would be home before the French authorities could bring them to court, so that didn't really work, so the tomb was renovated and enclosed in glass instead.
Photo Credit: The Guardian
I may not be able to leave you with a kiss,
but I can leave with a selfie instead!
Thank you very much Pere Lachaise!
The best entrance to use if your destination is Oscar Wilde's tomb is the
one beside Gambetta (Metro Line 3).
That was a really great way to spend a few hours in Paris. Entrance to the cemetery is even free, so it even makes it to the Top Free Things to do in Paris. just saying.

Dear Tim, I took a lot of pictures so you won't feel bad we didn't go. You can also find the famous people buried there through this link.

Cimetière du Pere Lachaise
16 Rue du Repos
75020 Paris, France
+33 1 55 25 82 10

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