Mojojack's Travels

A stroll among graves in Paris

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Pere Lachaise cemetery is wonderfully creepy even on a sunny afternoon when the light turns the moss on graves vivid green, and stain glass windows glow in concrete crypts.

It would be easy to get lost among the maze of paths and probably impossible to find a particular grave without a map. A crow seemed to follow us around the grounds, hopping between graves and pulling at weeds.

The cemetery is the largest in Paris covering more than 40 hectares. It’s walled off from the city and verdant in summer with trees and some grassed areas.

As well as housing the remains of generations of families, many famous French artists, academics and politicians and some of other nationalities are buried here including Collette, Maria Callas, Edith Piaf, and Oscar Wilde.

Lots of slabs are in disrepair and some have collapsed completely leaving disconcerting views into their hollows. Sculptors were working on Chopin’s large white tomb when we wandered past.

I was surprised at the number of recent internments given the cramped space. A poignant one was a rollerderby player in her 30s whose helmet and favourite beer were displayed on her gravesite.

We found Jim Morrison’s humble site, or rather it found us, Laressa turning at an opportune moment and spotting a handful of quiet fans paying their respects among the gravestones. Hundreds of wads of chewing gum are stuck to a tree as a tribute to James Douglas Morrison.

Here are some photos from our visit.

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