Places to Visit »P?re Lachaise Cemetery

pere lachaise cemetaryOne of the most famous (and certainly one of the most visited) cemeteries in the world, P?re Lachaise Cemetery is the final resting place of bon vivant Oscar Wilde; “Bigger” Thomas creator Richard Wright; fictitious pilferer Jean Valjean; pot brownie chef Alice B. Toklas; mall frame shop favorite Georges Seurat; A Trip to the Moon visionary Georges M?li?s; French literary luminaries Marcel Proust and Balzac; Edith Piaf; Napolean's mistress's heart and the empty urn that held Maria Callas's ashes before they were stolen.

But when Fred and I visited in 1998, there was only one grave we were really interested in checking out: the Lizard King's. I don't know if you've ever seen the Doors movie, but at the very end there's a shot of Morrison's grave and, even more than the spot in the park where John Lennon was shot, for a young gentleman like myself, a trip to Paris would have been truly incomplete without a sojourn to this sacred spot.

The first thing that struck me is that Oliver Stone made it look a lot cooler on film. This section of the cemetery is super congested with both the living and the dead; misguided youths from all over the world loiter around the tomb, muttering the same sullen complaints and obvious observations in a dozen different languages, but there's not really a lot of space for these kids to reflect in–it's not a monument at all, just another grave packed into an overcrowded cemetery. And that awesome bust you saw in the movie: gone. Even dead I guess Morrison's still a pain in the ass, there's tons of graffiti all over the otherwise gorgeous grounds pointing the way to his tomb and Doors “fans” continue to deface not only the dark poet's, but all the nearby plots as well. What a bunch of jerks (and by jerks I mean misunderstood kids).

It was a rainy day when we visited and both of us had outgrown our serious Doors phases long ago, we wandered the sprawling grounds for some time and checked out Oscar Wilde's grave. Then we mis-qouted some Smiths lyrics. Then I remember feeling damp and cranky. Then we had a bunch of drinks with Abdo and Smarsch at their hotel.

See more: Places to Visit

Posted on July 30, 2007

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