Sunday, January 1, 2012

PARIS - Père Lachaise Cemetery

Père Lachaise Cemetery, 20th Arrondisement, Paris - DGH

Père Lachaise Cemetery, (or Cimetière du Père-Lachaise) established by Napoleon in 1804, is reputed to be the largest cemetery in the city of Paris with its own stone cobbled streets and snug juxtaposition of memorials. Large memorials dedicated to those who served in previous wars stand here, beside family memorials and ornate tombs of some of history’s most celebrated cultural heroes. The various styles of architecture shown in some of the memorials give us an idea of their age, as well as the materials used: marble, granite, iron sculpture, bronze figures, and stained glass inserts.

Beautiful detail made to survive - by DG Hudson

We used a map of the layout available at the entrance and walked down tree-lined roadways admiring the variety of large and small enclosures, some just big enough for a moments’ reflection.  The cobbles force you to walk a little slower than normal city  speed. There’s a crematorium and a memorial building on the grounds where we located the plaques of Stephane Grappelli, jazz violinist and the dancer, Isadora Duncan.

Edith Piaf, The Little Sparrow - by DG Hudson

We searched out Edith Piaf, the French chanteuse, Georges Bizet, writer of Carmen, and the poet/writer Oscar Wilde’s monument (we saw it covered in red kisses before the memorial was restored and partially covered by protective glass).  Refer to a previous post Paris Walks for the 'before' photo.  Chopin, Jim Morrison, Balzac, Sarah Bernhardt, Lalique, and many more rest in this same elegant neighbourhood.

Family monuments vary in design - by DG Hudson 2010

As the afternoon began to turn into evening, we left Cimetière du Père-Lachaise walking back the way we had come, down the sloped Rue du Chemin Vert, past the pop-up stores to the Place de La Bastille and finally to the Marais. 

A Closed Book - photo by DG Hudson 2010

Old cemeteries can be interesting places, aside from the spiritual value they offer, if you study the architecture, the placement of the old against the new, and the variety of detail on some of the monuments in these older places of rest. Imagine how it must have looked over two hundred years ago at its beginning, in 1804. Take photos to reinforce the memory when one day you want to use that setting in your writing.

The Cobbled Streets of Père Lachaise - by DG Hudson



Oscar Wilde’s tomb is now partially encased in glass for its own protection and to honour his memory.  This video explains why. (Huffington Post article/video)

Virtual Tour of Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris

All photos by DG Hudson, 2010 in Paris, France.


Have you visited a place or building that made a strong impression on you? Or gave you a feeling of deja vu?  Please share in the comments.


  1. Have you seen MIDNIGHT IN PARIS? It is a fantasy by Woody Allen. I think you would enjoy it. These photos seem to remind me in a way of New Orleans. Thanks for visiting and following, Roland

  2. @Roland - yes, I've seen Midnight in Paris, with great cameos of Hemingway and Dali. Brings back memories of our trip, it does.

    Thanks for following and commenting, much appreciated.

    I've written several posts about Paris on both my blogs - it was a fantastic place to visit.
    It must be the water in Paris, of which I have indulged. Once you drink it, you love the place. . . and now hubby and I can say, 'we'll always have Paris'.

  3. Wonderful photos. Almost like being there. :) Hope to visit it myself someday.

    Happy 2012!

  4. @ M. - Happy 2012 to you too!

    I usually take lots of photos when I travel, so I'm glad you enjoyed these. There are more Paris photos on the Rainforest writing blog.

    Thanks for stopping by. Best wishes for the new year.

  5. These sites are definitely a source of inspiration and material for writing of all kinds.

    Since it is among the books I've read most recently, I think of Anne Fortier's Juliet, with its search for Romeo and Juliet's tomb.

    An interesting post choice for the first day of a new year, D.G., considering graves are what many people think of as "the end". Here is to new beginnings!

  6. @J. - I find historical places seem to stir my imagination. We went to pay our respects to those people we admired for their talent.
    The surprise was the beautiful design of some of the tombs, and the care with which the place is tended.

    My reason for the post - I thought it might be a change from the usual 'first of the year' posts.

  7. @J.T. - thanks for following and welcome. Drop by occasionally to see what's new. That novel looks interesting.

  8. Your photos are fantastic! That cemetery looks intriguing. I'd love to visit it. And the cobblestone street, so cool!

  9. @LynNerdKelley - thanks, glad you liked the photos. Pere Lachaise Cemetery is a really unique place, hope you get to see it someday, along with the rest of Paris, too.

    Best wishes to you.

  10. I visited this cemetery because my sole desire was to visit Jim Morrison's grave. I had no idea until I visited how fascinating it was and that I would spend so much time there. It is such a peaceful place. Thanks for sharing your pictures.

  11. @very good mother in law - I agree, Pere Lachaise is a beautiful place to spend time just absorbing history. We paid our respects to several of our favorites, too.

    Thanks for following and for sharing your experience.

  12. When i first went to Egypt and visited the historic churches, i really felt good. Great post, i like it. :)

  13. @Murugi - glad you liked the post. I'm drawn to historic places, and love to see these reminders that humanity has survived over the centuries.

    Thanks for stopping by, and for your kind comment.


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