AND OUTCASTS ALWAYS MOURN – Père Lachaise Cemetery, not only the largest cemetery in Paris

cimitero2-1That cemetery was opened on May 1804, and the first person buried was a five-year-old girl (Adélaïde Paillard de Villeneuve, the daughter of a door bell-boy of the Faubourg St. Antoine), but her grave no longer exists, as the plot was a temporary concession. We waiting for you at Paris Métro station Philippe Auguste (on line 2), is next to the main entrance, and the cemetery is on Boulevard de Ménilmontant. Père Lachaise Cemetery, is the largest cemetery in the city of Paris, though there are larger cemeteries in the city’s suburbs. The cemetery, takes its name from the confessor to Louis XIV (Père François de la Chaise, who lived in the Jesuit house on the site of the chapel).cimitero1-1

The cemetery today? Père Lachaise is still an operating cemetery. The rules to be buried in a Paris cemetery are rather strict (people may be buried in one of these cemeteries if they die in the French capital city, or if they lived there). The grave sites at Père Lachaise, range from a unadorned headstone to elaborate mini chapels. Some family mausoleums, contain dozens of bodies (often in several separate but contiguous graves). Now, on grave sites, the Père Lachaise Cemetery has adopted a standard issuing 30-year leases. If a lease is not renewed, the remains can be removed (remains are tagged and moved to “Aux Morts ossuary”, always in Père Lachaise cemetery). Fascinating Graves in Père Lachaise?cimitero3-1

He was president of France. His presidency is famous for the Franco-Russian alliance and the Dreyfus affair. Félix Faure died after suffering an apoplectic episode whilst in bed with his mistress. His tomb shows him draped in cloth. Jean-Baptiste Poquelin (better known as Molière), was one of the greatest comic playwrights of all time. Molière suffered for many years from TB, but he insisted on performing in his play “Le Malade Imaginaire”. Since he was an actor, he was not allowed to be buried in consecrated ground (only the intervention of the king allowed him burial, but amongst the unbaptized infants). In 1817, his remains were transferred in Père Lachaise. His work still dazzles audiences today. Chopin, the master of the solo piano. Chopin grew up in Warsaw (but settled in France, in later life). It was in Paris that Chopin died, after a lung disease. Though his heart was removed for burial in his homeland, his body was buried here. As you can see, his grave is adorned with bunches of flowers.cimitero4-1

Jim Morrison (the lead singer of The Doors), has a tomb most popular in the cemetery. After he died in Paris (of a suspected drug overdose), he was buried here, in an unmarked grave. The simple marker on the site it was stolen (same thing happened to a bust of Morrison, placed on a simple gravestone). Many visitors leave poems or other messages. A simple block of stone bears the message: “According to his own daimon.” Oscar Wilde’s is probably the most famous tomb in Père Lachaise. Wilde died in France (after leaving England to avoid the shame of his conviction). His tomb (with an angel displaying its genitalia), was defaced soon after its erection. Today, the monument remain covered in lipstick, because women kiss the stone. Engraved on the tomb, you can read one of his verse: “And alien tears will fill for him. Pity’s long-broken urn, for his mourners will be outcast men, and outcasts always mourn.”


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