Fridays in France: Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris

7bd0e5c45a0ac959b93646670a693350It’s almost Halloween, my lovelies, and the spooky spectrals are ready to boogie! For today’s Fridays in France series, I wanted to take you to Pere Lachaise Cemetery, one of Paris’s most famous – and most haunted – locations. It is said the phantoms roam freely here…as do the tourists. And behind each elaborate crypt is a fascinating story of fame, fortune, love  and tragedy.

Join us, if you dare. Mwah-ha-ha-haaaa (my attempt at an evil laugh – did it work?)

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76ef2caac036dc52f7e174cdb72cd737The Pensive Woman at the entrance to the tomb of Famille Gamichon has become quite famous over the years. It is believed that this tomb’s inhabitants include François Auguste Gamichon, the original founder of Parisian lingerie company Chantelle. Ironically, the Pensive Woman is sans bra. Coincidence? Hmmm….

456a02894d9f62a7844d53fd9f341ba9Try as I might, I couldn’t find any information on Xavier and Stephanie Jericot. But their grave is lovely, simple, and draped in a copper blanket. So, ya know, they will sleep happily eternally after.

b2aac3acf182470c95b15f8554dc15c4Weeping angels are prevalent at the Pere Lachaise Cemetery.

588bdad7edcb6666b6035712e4c1194cThe crypt of the family Ponsat are guarded by two bronze, weeping caryatids. Part of the Ponsat clan buried here is Jean Baptiste Ponsat, who died in 1808 at the age of 72. His wife, Anne, was seven years older than he (quite the cougar!), and joined him in the cemetery in 1820 at the ripe old age of 92.

bf7b218f7d2620bed86fd70188c542f3In life, Auguste Burdeau was a workaholic. The politician and professor was said to have died in 1894 of pure exhaustion. Glad to see he’s finally at rest.

cb4d02f405d5c95a0704000c75481757Gorgeously aged copper doors are a fixture at the cemetery.

edith piaf graveThe grave of one of France’s most revered singers, Edith Piaf. Her most famous ballad is La Vie En Rose, known worldwide an an informal national anthem for France.

Jim Morrison graveJim Morrison, lead singer of The Doors, is another celebrity-in-residence at the Pere Lachaise. HIs is probably the most interesting grave in the neighborhood, as fans continue to leave unique tokens of affection and poetic graffiti.

oscar wilde grave1The brilliantly witty (and sexually adventurous) author/poet Oscar Wilde is also entombed here, following his death in 1900. Admirers often kissed his grave, which I personally think is a fabulous tribute. Sadly, the stone is now scrubbed clean and encased in glass to maintain its pristine appearance. *kiss*

oscar wilde grave2

Pere Lachaise CemeteryThe final resting place of writer George Rodenbach is, perhaps, the most haunting zombie-like image. Apparently, he wanted to remind the world that even death could not contain him.

orange sculptureI’m curious about why this grave is orange. Like, Cheetos orange! And why does the poor lady look so bored.

Raspail Tomb in Pere Lachaise CemeteryI find the tomb of François-Vincent Raspail to be one of the creepiest. For all eternity, the doctor/politician will have this cloaked entity hanging around.

But in life, the good doctor believed in the healing power of liquor, publishing the the elixir Raspail” : four fingers of brandy (or Armagnac) + 2 fingers Crémant de Loire. Pour directly into a flute, cognac and Crémant. Stir gently with a spoon. Enjoy very slowly.

Perhaps the hanger-on is simply hung over?

Ribbet collageA cemetery is probably not a place for inappropriate touching, but let’s just say journalist Victor Noir is, in death, a connoisseur of the happy ending. Challenging the Prince to a duel proved to be his demise, and poor Victor was to be remembered forever in his death state. But over the years, he’s become an unlikely symbol of romance and visitors flock to rub his rather prominent bulge. It’s said a single woman who buffs his beef and drops a flower in his hat will find a husband within a year.

Might be worth a try.

And speaking of happy endings…

Au revoir! Bon Weekend!

    2 Comments

    1. Rand says:

      hey! cool website and great piece on Pere Lachaise. Been to Paris twice with friends, but going back in 8 week solo and cant wait to explore all the fun off the wall places and the cemetery has been on my list. Went to the one in Montparnasse, was cool, but I know Pere is much better.

      My question to you is…since the pic is one you have on the page…Raspail. That’s from my favorite album/album cover of all time. So I must see it. Do you recall where in the cemetery it’s located at. A general area would be great so I dont end up walking 10 miles in the cemetery just to find it.

      Appreciate your help,
      Merci!
      Rand

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