Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A day at Père Lachaise

As some of you know, I am on vacation this week because the little girl I watch is staying with her grandparents in Versailles.  On Thursday I am going to Amsterdam, but until then my days completely free besides a few English lessons.  So of course, I am exploring Paris.

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day that gave Parisians a small glimpse of spring - which was amazing and cruel at the same time.  I started out wandering through the Marais which was the intended subject of this post, but it turned into quite the disappointment because I wasn't aware that most independent shops are closed on Mondays. I don't think anyone wants to read about me walking through empty streets with nothing to do. Anyway, it was a pretty boring trip.  I decided instead to go to Père Lachaise, one of my favorite spots in the city.

Père Lachaise is a beautiful cemetery located in the 20th arrondissement and is home to many famous graves including Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf and Jim Morrison. However, I love taking a few hours to wander around aimlessly looking at the old, dilapidated graves of people whose families have long since forgotten. There is true beauty in the aging mausoleums, and, in my opinion, Père Lachaise is the most calming spot in the whole city.

Maybe it says something morbid about me that I love this cemetery so much. Dead people are quiet, and they can't judge you like so many Parisians do. I would love to sit and read a book on one of the old graves in a secluded spot, but I'm pretty sure that's frowned upon even if the person has been dead for a hundred years.

Every time I visit Père Lachaise, I always tell myself that I am going to come at least once a week. It's so much better than the parks in Paris - 1. it's much quieter 2. there generally aren't any children, not that I don't like them, but the sound of children's laughter loses its appeal when it's your job to take care of one and 3. there is real history here, and you feel like you are somehow a part of it.

I even found a black cat walking through the maze-like passage ways, and followed it for a good ten minutes. I guess it's good that I'm not superstitious because I assume that's at least fifty years of bad luck.

To anyone who will be visiting Paris, I definitely recommend hopping on the metro, and taking a few hours to explore this enormous cemetery.  On top of being absolutely beautiful, it's free! However, if you are looking for famous graves, I would suggest buying a map because they will be almost impossible to find without one.