After I posted pictures of the cemetery I visited in Nice, a friend of mine recommended that I visit the Pere Lachaise cemetery during my visit to Paris – seeing as how I enjoy hanging out with dead people and all. At least the dead people aren’t rude, something that the Parisians, who are alive and wreaking havoc on the polite and intelligent, can’t claim. Pere Lachaise is one of the largest cemeteries in Paris and was established in the early 19th century by Napoleon (the little shit struck again!), but it was built farther out from the city, making it a less appealing option for funerals at the time. In addition, it is a non-denominational cemetery, which was a huge issue for many Christians back in the day (and for some who are riding the short bus in life, it still is). As a marketing ploy by the city, in order to build interest for a greater number of funerals (odd), the legendary couple Abelard and Heloise’s remains were transferred to the cemetery.
Now this was a fascinating story that I learned about a couple from the 12th century whose love was forbidden because he was a man of the church. They had a baby and wed, in that order, in secret. When they were found out, Abelard was castrated and Heloise was sent to be a nun (I have no idea what happened to the poor child, but my guess is that he had to go for extensive psychotherapy years later). Today, people who are in the throes of the angst of love’s turmoil, or are hoping to fall in love, leave letters at their gravesite, begging for help, or an intervention, from the star-crossed lovers and the Universe. I left no such letter – as I think Abelard was a bit of a self-righteous a-hole and Heloise was his co-dependent victim and why the hell would I want their advice in getting back into another relationship similar to the one from whence I just came? Thank you and NO, check please!
There are many other famous people buried at Pere Lachaise that I would rather visit. And it just so happens to be the most visited cemetery in the world (which also means that there are hundreds of thousands of other weirdos like me who want to commune with the dead, too). The cemetery generously provides you with maps of where these gravesites are so I was able to conduct a fun little scavenger hunt of the gravesites, taking photos and they told me I would get a prize if I found them all the fastest of a pain de chocolat (good thing I walk faster than Physics will allow – I got not one prize, but two – can I get a wha-what?).
Annnnnyhooooo…..it was not only fascinating to see th e final resting places of Frederic Chopin, Georges Bizet and Jim Morrison, but also to learn about some of the freedom fighters buried there like Victor Schoelcher and Dr. Sadegh Charafkandi (one of the victims of the 1992 Iranian assassinations in Berlin buried there). Interestingly, these courageous heroes are not listed on the map, even the victims of the Algerian and Tanzania bombings in the 1980s – but every single artist who is buried there is on the map – and even the freak-a-zoid founder of Spiritism, Allan Kardec (which proves yet again how disconnected Parisians are from reality – I am surprised that Mark Zuckerberg is not Parisian, then I would have been able to add that to my reasons for my mass exodus from Facebook). Of course the visitors to Kardec’s gravesite were the best for people watching. You would have thought he had been raised from the dead with as much hooting and hollering as they conducted at his grave-site. That or I was really in the middle of a Southern Born-again-Christian Revival Hoo-rah. Talk about dramatic – the dude died in 1869 but his followers are convinced that they see visions of him walking around in the cemetery (they even had to post a warning site on his grave about this reedicUlousness – which you can view in the pictures I have posted). I waited for at least an hour and he did not show, so I left to go see the Eiffel tower before the sun set.
If you haven’t been yet to see the Eiffel Tower (or Paris for that matter), get reserved tickets and you can skip the massive amusement park like line at the base of the tower (and all other things Paris). Then you only have to stand in one to take the elevator to the top (like I did). I hate standing in lines for anything because I am not patient, nor am I tolerant – so my ADD was working overtime and it was better to ease my annoyance with every person in the general vicinity of my being that afternoon to only have to stand in one REALLY long ass line. Timing couldn’t have been better though, because by the time I did get to the top, the sun was just setting which made for some very spectacular views of the sky and the city, because the clouds from the day before were clearing (giving way for a gorgeous view of the full moon that evening as well). As I descended the tower, they turned on the disco ball Las Vegas lights which made for a splendid show to watch from across the street at the Cite d-Archeologie.
I walked back to the business district to grab dinner, another bowl of pureed soup from another rude waiter – what is with the Parisians and pureeing their soup?! This to me just screams out loud how lazy these people really are. I mean the walking around aimlessly is bad enough, but maybe they are frowning like zombies because the food here sucks – I am think I need to do some recon and get back to you on this…..over and out, Charlie!