Rendre visite à les Dead People

Dear Liza,

Our next day in Paris went in several different directions. Grandpa Nelson went to La Défense, a very modern business center, the only place for skyscrapers (except one, the Montparnasse Tower) in Paris. Auntie Katie and the kids went vintage clothes shopping.

And Auntie Olga and I went to Père La Chaisse, a fabulous, crowded, necropolis. Necropolis means “city of the dead”, and it is an accurate description. It has thousands of small tombs, tall and lovely and a bit creepy.

It opened for business, so to speak, in 1804 as the cemetery for the nearby abbey. When other cemeteries in Paris were closed for health reasons, some of the bodies or bones were moved here. It currently has over one million occupants occupying 110 acres of area.

Père La Chaisse is not only big and old and crowded, it is full of famous people.

Two of France’s most famous writers, Molíere and La Fontaine are even buried side by side.

An American rock musician named Jim Morrison, who died in Paris, was buried here. His grave became so cluttered with flowers and other tokens from fans that they had to put a fence around it. When that didn’t keep the peace, the family moved his body back to California. But the grave marker is still here, and fans come and cry and leave all sorts of pictures and things.

We found Edith Piaf, a French singer known as The Little Sparrow. She had a hard life but a beautiful voice, and was a legend in France for many years. Her two most famous songs, Je Regret Rien and Ma Vie en Rose, are famous all over the world.

And of course we stopped to pay our respects to Oscar Wilde, a British author that I love. He wrote The Importance of Being Earnest, Lady Windermere’s Fan, and a short story called The Picture of Dorian Grey. The cemetery had to put up plexiglass panels to protect the monument from all the lipstick kisses and Sharpie messages.

I love visiting the dead people!


Grandma Judy

Author: Judy

I am a new transplant to Portland from Salinas, a small city in Central California. This is a blog about my new city.

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