Pere Lachaise Cemetery
I've been saving some of our holiday photos from Paris specifically for October, for this Post Spooky month. Since I'll be be on the road most of today, driving across the lovely (uhm, flat?) state of Nevada to an evening football game, this is a good day to share the first of several sets of photographs from our afternoon spent walking around Cimetière du Père Lachaise, 109 acres of eerie beauty.
When William and I were in Paris two years ago, we accidentally stumbled into the cemetery in Montparnasse. I didn't have a clue at the time which of the city's cemeteries we had visited, but one of the must-do's on my list for our return was to visit several more of them, specifically the Montmartre Cemetery and the largest and most famous cemetery, Pere Lachaise.
Let's just wander. For the most part, I think the photos speak just fine for themselves. You'll probably know as much about them as I.
So much detail. Such lovely statues. I really love the beauty of old cemeteries. The mortuary where we held Joshua's memorial service was set on the grounds of a huge, modern cemetery. I remember how stark and cold it seemed, row upon row of uniform square stones, some sections small headstones that barely rose above ground level, others forced to use flat no rise stones to make mowing easier. Clearly no flowers or other leavings were allowed as there were never a single thing marring the gray and green lawns except for less than a half dozen small trees begrudgingly planted, probably one per acre. How comforting can a cemetery like that be to the living who come to visit their loved ones? Old cemeteries, for me, are peaceful and beautiful for those visiting friends or family or just for those of us who want to spend time reflecting on life, art, history, relationships, shadows, weather, maybe a quiet ghost or two, and the passage of time.
Sad beauty. I wonder what makes it blue - paint in or on the rock? A copper component making it like verdigris?
The cemetery was huge. There were wider "boulevards" like this one, smaller "streets", even narrow "alleys". The walkways were labeled and there were signposts at some of the intersections. Without a map you really just wandered and let serendipity direct you.
It looks like the perfect model of maternal love, yes? (or should I say - Oui?) But look at the word carved at the bottom - "Humanite". I assume that means "humanity". If only we treated each other as tenderly as this woman does the child in her arms. Isn't that who everyone, who "humanity" is, all of us collectively somebody's child.
I liked the serendipitous meandering but the others were more goal oriented. We each had a specific gravestone we wanted to find. I was willing to just wait until I stumbled upon the grave I wanted to visit, Oscar Wilde, but Jeff wanted to find Edith Piaf and Sam was determined to go directly to Jim Morrison's grave. He was sure Morrison's grave was in this area and he led us around in circles for a bit.
I just let everyone get ahead (since they were developing a pattern of showing up back behind me again if I dawdled long enough) and took more photos. This was a cool cross and snake.
You have to wonder whether the intent was to frighten or comfort here. I think I prefer the beautiful angels or even the silent skulls.
Another beautiful crypt. Most of them were family crypts with the name above the door.Eventually a couple on their way out of the cemetery gifted us with their map. We hadn't thought to buy one. Sam is infamous for being the kid that wouldn't read the directions, but even he was tired enough of going around in circles to give the map a whirl instead. Will the map finally lead him to his goal, Morrison's grave? Stay tuned for Part Two......
Close up again.
Close up again.
In the meantime, one of my Sweet and Sinister Swap boxes (I ended up with two partners) arrived this afternoon! Photos at Laume's Studio.