Pay your respects to Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, Frederic Chopin and more at Père Lachaise cemetery - ░▒▓█ Face Insider⌥ █▓▒░ | Social media marketing

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Monday, April 9, 2018

Pay your respects to Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, Frederic Chopin and more at Père Lachaise cemetery

Pay your respects to Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, Frederic Chopin and more at Père Lachaise cemetery.





ays before my maiden trip to Paris, when I told a friend that I was most excited about visiting the city's largest cemetery to see the resting place of Oscar Wilde, she was surprised and confused. Visiting a graveyard was the last thing she could imagine on an itinerary for the city of lights. I, on the other hand, didn't mind cemeteries too much--having often explored the beautifully lit up Bhawanipore Cemetery in Kolkata on All Souls Day and bunked classes in college to while away time at the South Park Street Cemetery. The Père Lachaise Cemetery, however, looks more like a beautifully laid out park, with tree-lined cobbled streets bearing names like Avenue des Thuyas, or the avenue of cedars.
On a cold and sunny morning in March, when the first cherry blossoms have started blooming, there is nothing sinister or even gloomy about Paris's most famous necropolis. There is something quite daunting about it though-navigating this maze of over 70,000 tombs, even when armed with a map, is no easy feat. The map (available for download online) lists about 70 of the most famous people that are buried at Père Lachaise but spotting the exact tombstone across a 103-acre area is like finding a needle in a haystack.
ALL ROADS LEAD TO WILDE
Unless, if it is Oscar Wilde that you are looking for. The Irish author is unarguably one of the most popular residents at Père Lachaise. Very bad at following directions, I am quick to seek help from a gardener - who points me in the right direction even before I can finish asking my question. Clearly, all roads around this side of Père Lachaise lead to Wilde's tomb. Wilde lies at rest on a crowded block - there is merely standing place between him and his neighbours - but stands out by virtue of the protective glass wall around his tomb. His is the only tomb in the area to be surrounded by tourists and fans, trying to click selfies, as well as artists, trying to capture the likeliness of the monument.
On a cold and sunny morning in March, when the first cherry blossoms have started blooming, there is nothing sinister or even gloomy about Paris's most famous necropolis. Photo: Mail Today
Created by sculptor Jacob Epstein, the monument has been at the receiving end of vandalism, both from lovers and haters. The statue of the flying angel atop Wilde's tomb was reported to be vandalised on grounds of nudity, whereas the glass barrier was put up to protect the stone structure from being ruined by lipstick marks left by his ardent fans. Competing with the Irishman on fan adulation is none other than Jim Morrison, yes, the lead singer of The Doors. The lizard king lies in a quiet corner of Père Lachaise, where fans leave him flowers and letters. Another famous musician, although Morrison's predecessor by a century - Frederic Chopin - the Polish composer and pianist, also rests at Père Lachaise. As do the French Romantic painter, Eugene Delacroix and Italian artist Amadeo Modigliani.
Oscar Wilde is unarguably one of the most popular residents at Père Lachaise. Photo: Mail Today

TALES OF LOST LOVE
Not far away from Morrison's resting place is that of the 12th-century star-crossed lovers, Abelard and Héloïse. A torrid love affair between a French philosopher and his student led to the couple being ostracised and forced to join the church. Their love letters are still widely read, and the mini mausoleum, in which they were united after death, draws travellers from across the world. Meandering around the minichapels, war monuments, statues and obelisks strewn around Père Lachaise, I stumbled upon an unobtrusive granite tombstone bearing the name of Getrude Stein. An American author, Stein was part of Paris's avante-garde movement and a friend of Ernest Hemingway.
The Père Lachaise Cemetery looks more like a beautifully laid out park, with tree-lined cobbled streets bearing names like Avenue des Thuyas, or the avenue of cedars. Photo: Mail Today
Her drawing room may have once been the melting pot of the who's who of early-20th century Paris but at Père Lachaise, she was all by herself, surrounded by other moss-covered tombstones.
The dramatic tomb of Belgian novelist and poet Georges Rodenbach; (left) Père Lachaise cemetery houses over 70,000 tombs. Photo: Mail Today
After meandering around several mini-chapels, war monuments, statues and obelisks for four hours, when I decide to call it a day, I still have some names on my list that I haven't managed to check off.

INDIAN CONNECT
Industry titans--Ettore Bugatti,sports cars, and JRD Tata, the man behind India's salt-to-software conglomerate, Tata Group--were not to be as easily found as the many authors and musicians that I had visited. I spot the name of another Indian--Swami Vijayananda, a Hindu holyman--but fail to spot his tomb as well. I get out of the cemetery and board a bus to explore the Notre Dame cathedral and have lunch at the Latin Quarter. There was still hope for the long list of desserts, cheese and wine that I was yet to try.
Photo: Mail Today


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