Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Un long et peut-être dernière post sur le cimetière du Père Lachaise

Rachel is the historian in the family, and during her stay with us she read a good bit of French and Parisian history. One of her books concluded with an eloquent epilogue on the Pere Lachaise cemetery--where much of French and Parisian history is interred--and she wanted to visit once more to see some of the things she had earlier missed. Rebecca, the literary daughter, wanted to see some of the writers, so we three ventured once more to Pere Lachaise. We found nearly everything we were looking for, and more, but never did find the site of Leon Blum, France's prime minister in the turbulent 1930s, a socialist, and a Jew, who actually held the office on two occasions, both before and after WWII. During the war, the Germans arrested him, "tried" him at a trial that became of mockery of their cause in France, then deported him first to Buchenwald, then Dachau, then to the Tyrol. His future wife came to live with him at Buchenwald. Miraculously, he survived all this, including an execution order, returned to France, and was re-elected, again. Next time, right, Rachel? We live close to the Place Leon Blum.
Main entrance to Pere Lachaise

Seeing this at a distance, I had to remind
myself that Hector Guimard was buried in
NYC, not Paris; he designed this site, however;

Best neo-classical, so far

Smallest marker, so far

Still my favorite, Chopin; evidently other
peoples' favorite too

Denon, Rachel informed us, was director of
the Louvre after the Revolution, had the joy
of receiving all the goods curated by Napoleon,
then the sorrow of losing most of them as
reparations after Napoleon's fall; best of times,
worst of times...

"No, Frodo, the spirit of Sauron endured..."

Best dressed, so far

"Well,, he was of two minds about his tomb..."

Best Mark Twain impersonator; note
boutonniere provided by some thoughtful

"This space available"; actually, some spaces are available,
for a five year period, after which your bones are deposited
in an ossuary 

Guillotine victim

In the southeast quadrant of the cemetery one
is far more inclined to seriousness and reflection;
this is where the many memorials to war dead,
Holocaust dead, political prisoners, and so on,
are located


And thus

Where leaders of the 1871 Commune were stood against
the wall and shot

Where you can spread the ashes of your loved one; no, that's
not a streak of fertilizer dust...

Alice B. Toklas on the flip side


One of the more eclectic (architecturally)



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