Pere Lachaise in the20th arrondissemont
of Paris is reputed to be the world's most-visited cemetery, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.
They are drawn here primarily to seek out the 'celebratory graves' or just to stroll the network of cobblestone paths (wear appropriate footwear) past the mausoleums and tombstonesunder the
umbrella of the foliage of the many trees.
Some people actually refer to the cemetery as 'romantic' but we think 'interesting' might be more appropriate.
The resting place of Jim Morrison (Legendary lead singer of 'The Doors' who died back in 1971) is obviously a big draw but due to to his 'cult' status they have had to put up barriers to protect his 'tomb'. Compared to many of the other graves in the cemetery it is actually very simple in style.
Another place of pilgrimage is to Oscar Wilde's grave where tradition was to leave your lip print (probably women
and men!) to signify their love of the great man. Though since our visit it has been cleaned up (2011) and a clear screen erected around it to stop this show of affection. Personally we think it actually gave it some 'life'. He sadly died destitute, of meningitis here in Paris in 1900 at the much too early age of 46.
Loved Wilde's deathbed statement:
“I am dying as I have lived — beyond my means.”
There is an impressive neo-Byzantine crematorium within the cemetery but having spent longer here than we intended we did not get a chance to view it properly ...next time.
Away from the 'celebratory' aspect of the cemetery you will also find some of the most poignant memorials to French heroes and also the tens of thousands of French Jews* who were deported by the French government to Nazi death camps, most of whom never returned.
The last 147 of the 'Communards' (see article
here) were lined up against this wall in the south eastern corner of the cemetery and shot on May 28, 1871 in their fight for national liberty