Thursday, September 07, 2006

The cemetery where Jim Morrison is buried

According to our guidebook, the Cimitiere du Pere-Lachaise is the world's most visited cemetery. It's located on a high hill overlooking Paris, near Sacre'-Coeur. Among the famous buried there include: Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Chopin, Sarah Bernhardt, and Gertrude Stein, and many more. In high school, I was given Jim Morrison's biography on my 16th birthday, as a present from a beatnik classmate who had long hair, drove an old blue Volkswagen van, and marched to the beat of his own drum. Justin Velo, wherever you are today, thank you for introducing me to Jim Morrison and The Doors.

So when Uwe asked me last night what I wanted to see in Paris on our last day, one thing came to mind - Jim Morrison's gravesite. Little did I know that he's buried in not just any cemetery in Paris, but in the coolest old cemetery I've ever seen to date. Uwe felt the same way. Jim Morrison was in Paris when he overdosed in 1971, and flocks of people still come to visit his grave. You can see the drawings, letters, and fresh flowers left on his grave.

When we got to the cemetery we were so in awe of the grounds, but we wanted to find Jim Morrison's grave first, and then wander around and check out all the old gravesites afterward. We thought we'd have a hard time finding it with the cemetery's windy cobblestone paths, but then we started seeing people who were walking in the same direction, wearing tie dye shirts and looking reminiscent of the 60's. Uwe turned to me and said, "You know who they're here to see. Follow the weirdos." (I wasn't wearing a hippy dress or flowers in my hair, but I have a fondness in my heart for weirdos of a gentle, harmless nature.) And so we did and that's how we stumbled onto the gravesite.Uwe wanted to take a photo of one of the "weirdos", and had me stand there as a pon, so as to look like he was taking a photo of me instead. But at the last minute the guy stepped right behind me and Uwe wasn't able to get his picture. So here I am with my arms crossed, looking not too pleased. This photo cracks me up. I have a look on my face like, "I don't get what's so funny, but since you do, let's just get this over with." While Jim Morrison's grave was the typical grave with a headstone, many of the graves had little shrines built above them like these. Some also had stone books with photographs and mementos. Some have stood the test of time, while others have been disintegrated by the elements.This shrine, as did many others, had a little stained glass window inside. This is a close up.Here's a shot of the door made of wrought iron.Here's a photo of another shrine. You can see the small altar inside.

Some of the graves were so old that they were falling apart, which made the cemetery even cooler. It felt like we were walking through chapters in a history book. While some graves surprisingly still had fresh flowers 20 years after the deceased passed away, others were left to decay.

Astrid slept the entire time we were there. Even with the bumpy ride on the cobblestones, she was sound asleep. Hence no pics of the baby.

1 comment:

jvelo said...
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