This blog post is specially written for you, Matt 🙂
This beautiful cemetery is a peaceful place in Paris, perfect for a nice rest from the busy streets. You can easily get there by metro. Matt hade planned to go and visit the grave of Jim Morrison. Me, my husband and Matt went there one morning, while the rest of our friends, and famillies still were in their beds. It was cold, though it was in the end of march, and I had expected full spring. But not this day. I had six layers clothes on (the whole suitcase on the same time). But even in the cold wind, the cemetery was so beautiful. We got a map, and tried to find some of the celebraties, buried there. It was not easy, but we found some. And, we found Jim Morrison the main aim with the visit. After around two hours, we were stiff of the chilly wind, and left the cemetery, trying to find a café. We wanted to get som ”pain au chocolat”, or some ”croissant”. A café was found, but they had not what we wanted to eat. Nice and friendly staff though, so after a short walk to a bakery, I could serve the others ”pain au chocolat” and ”croissants”, together with the coffee, making our body temperatur slowly normalize.
Here are some pictures from our visit……(many more are on my hard drive).
Many of the graves have beautiful sculptures.
This must be the resting place for a ballet dancer.
Frédéric François Chopin, in Polish Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin (the surname is pronounced [ˈɕo:pɛn] in Polish; [ʃɔpɛ̃] in French, and usually /ˈʃoʊpæn/ in English; 1 March 1810 – 17 October 1849) was a Polish composer and virtuoso pianist of French-Polish parentage. He was one of the great masters of Romantic music.
Chopin was born in the Napoleonic Duchy of Warsaw to a French-expatriate father and Polish mother, and was a child-prodigy pianist and composer. Following the Russian suppression of the Polish November 1830 Uprising, Chopin settled in France as part of the Polish Great Emigration. In Paris he supported himself as a composer and piano teacher, giving few public performances. After romantic involvements with several Polish women, from 1837 to 1847 he carried on a relationship with the French novelist Amantine Aurore Lucie Dupin, baronne Dudevant, better known by her pseudonym, George Sand. For the greater part of his life Chopin suffered from poor health; he died in Paris, aged 39, of pulmonary tuberculosis. (Wikipedia).
”Edith Piaf was one of France’s most beloved singers, with much success shortly before and during World War II. Her music reflected her tragic life, with her specialty being the poignant ballad presented with a heartbreaking voice. The most famous songs performed by Piaf were La Vie en Rose (1946), Milord (1959), and Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien (1960).
She was born Édith Giovanna Gassion in Paris, France; her mother worked as a cafe singer and her father was a well-known travelling acrobat. Abandoned by her mother, she was raised by her paternal grandmother, who ran a brothel in Normandy. From age 3 to 7, she was blind. As part of Édith Piaf’s legend, she allegedly recovered her sight after her grandmother’s prostitutes went to a pilgrimage to Saint Thérèse de Lisieux. Later she lived for a while with her alcoholic father, whom she left by age 15 to become a street singer in Paris” (from edithpiaf.com).
Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish writer, poet, and prominent aesthete. His parents were successful Dublin intellectuals, and from an early age he was tutored at home, where he showed his intelligence, becoming fluent in French and German. He attended boarding school for six years, then matriculated to university at seventeen years of age. Reading Greats, Wilde proved himself to be an outstanding classicist, first at Trinity College, Dublin, then at Magdalen College, Oxford. After university, Wilde moved around trying his hand at various literary activities: he published a book of poems and toured America lecturing extensively on aestheticism. He then returned to London, where he worked prolifically as a journalist for four years. Known for his biting wit, flamboyant dress, and glittering conversation, Wilde was one of the most well-known personalities of his day. He next produced a series of dialogues and essays that developed his ideas about the supremacy of art. However, it was his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray – still widely read – that brought him more lasting recognition. He became one of the most successful playwrights of the late Victorian era in London with a series of social satires which continue to be performed, especially his masterpiece The Importance of Being Earnest.At the height of his fame and success, Wilde suffered a dramatic downfall in a sensational series of trials. He sued his lover’s father for libel, though the case was dropped at trial. After two subsequent trials, Wilde was imprisoned for two years’ hard labour, having been convicted of ”gross indecency” with other men. In prison he wrote De Profundis, a dark counterpoint to his earlier philosophy of pleasure. Upon his release he left immediately for France, never to return to Ireland or Britain. There he wrote his last work, The Ballad of Reading Gaol, a long, terse poem commemorating the harsh rhythms of prison life. He died destitute in Paris at the age of forty-six.” (Wikipedia).
This one was a bit spooky! Is it getting in or coming out?
James Douglas ”Jim” Morrison (December 8, 1943 – July 3, 1971) was an American singer, songwriter, poet, writer and filmmaker. He was best known as the lead singer and lyricist of The Doors and is widely considered to be one of the most charismatic frontmen in rock music history. He was also the author of several books of poetry and the director of a documentary and short film. Although Morrison was known for his baritone vocals, many fans, scholars, and journalists have discussed his theatrical stage persona, his self-destructiveness, and his work as a poet. He was ranked number 47 on Rolling Stone’s ”100 Greatest Singers of All time. (Wikipedia).
Colette was the surname of the French novelist Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (28 January 1873 – 3 August 1954). She is best known for her novel Gigi (upon which the stage and film musical comedies by Lerner & Loewe, of the same title, were based). Colette was born in Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye, Yonne, in the Burgundy Region of France, the daughter of Jules-Joseph Colette and Adèle Eugénie Sidonie Landoy (”Sido”). In 1893 she married Henri Gauthier-Villars, a famous bisexual wit known as ”Willy”, who was 15 years her senior.Her first books, the Claudine series, were published under the pen name of her husband, ”Willy”, writer, music critic, ”literary charlatan and degenerate”,. Claudine still has the power to charm; in belle epoque France it was downright shocking, much to Willy’s satisfaction and profit. (Wikipedia).
This was interesting. If I’m not wrong it means ”Alone at last”. One really wonder about the person who wrote this on his grave.
We tried to find Isadora Duncan here, but didn’t find her.
Isadora Duncan (May 26, 1877 – September 14, 1927) was an American dancer. She is considered by many to be the creator of modern dance. In the United States she was popular only in New York, and then only later in her life. She performed to acclaim throughout Europe.Duncan’s fondness for flowing scarves was the cause of her death in a freak automobile accident in Nice, France. Duncan’s large silk scarf while still draped around her neck, became entangled around one of the vehicle’s open-spoked wheels and rear axle, breaking her neck.” (Wikipedia).
”Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust (French pronunciation: [maʁsɛl pʁust]; 10 July 1871 – 18 November 1922) was a French novelist, critic and essayist best known for his monumental À la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time; earlier translated as Remembrance of Things Past). It was published in seven parts between 1913 and 1927.” (wikipedia).
And we met the black cat, of course!
Finally the sad story about Heloise and Abélard.
”Héloïse d’Argenteuil (1101? – 16 May 1164) was a French nun, writer, scholar, and abbess, best known for her love affair and correspondence with Peter Abélard. In his writings, Abélard tells the story of his seduction of Héloïse and their subsequent illicit relationship, which they continued until Héloïse bore him a son, whom Héloïse named Astrolabius (Astrolabe). Abélard secretly married Héloïse, but both of them tried to conceal this fact in order not to damage Abélard’s career. Fulbert’s ensuing violence against Heloise caused Abélard to place her in the convent of Argenteuil.The accepted view is that Fulbert believed Abélard abandoned Héloïse, and, in his anger, wreaked vengeance upon Abélard by having him attacked while asleep and castrated. An alternative view is that Fulbert divulged the secret of the marriage and her family sought vengeance, ordering the castration of Abélard. After castration, Abélard became a monk.
About this time, correspondence began between the two former lovers. After Abélard left the Paraclete, fleeing persecution, he wrote his Historia Calamitatum, explaining his tribulations both in his youth as a philosopher only and subsequently as a monk.Héloïse responded, both on the behalf of the Paraclete and herself. In letters which followed, Héloïse expressed dismay at problems Abélard faced, but scolded him for years of silence following the attack upon him, since Abélard was still wed to Héloïse.Thus began a correspondence both passionate and erudite. Héloïse encouraged Abélard in his philosophical work and he dedicated his profession of faith to her. At one point, she tells him to share every detail of his life and not to shield her from unpleasantness.Ultimately, after telling Héloïse of instances where he had abused her and forced sex, Abélard insisted he’d never truly loved her, but only lusted after her, and their relationship was a sin against God.Some scholars consider Abélard was attempting to spare her feelings (or his feelings, altered from disrupted hormones) and others point to the damage of his hormones and psyche, but from this point on, their correspondence focused on professional subjects rather than their romantic history.Astrolabe, the son of Abelard and Héloïse, is mentioned only once in their surviving correspondence, when Peter the Venerable writes to Heloise: ”I will gladly do my best to obtain a prebend in one of the great churches for your Astrolabe, who is also ours for your sake”.
The Problemata Heloissae (Héloïse’s Problems) is a collection of 42 theological questions directed from Héloïse to Abélard at the time when she was abbess at the Paraclete, and his answers to them.
Héloïse’s place of burial is uncertain. According to the Père-Lachaise Cemetery, the remains of both lovers were transferred from the Oratory in the early 19th century and were reburied in the famous crypt on their grounds (illustration, right).The Oratory of the Paraclete claims Héloïse and Abélard are buried there and that what exists in Père-Lachaise is merely a monument. There are still others who believe that while Abélard is buried in the crypt at Père-Lachaise, Héloïse’s remains are elsewhere.
If you visit Paris, do not miss Père-Lachaise.