“To have no yesterday, and no tomorrow. To forget time, to forget life, to be at peace.”
“You can help me. You can open for me the portals of death’s house, for love is always with you, and love is stronger than death is.”
Early morning, on a very cold and rainy one, I went to the cemetery without expecting much apart from visiting Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison, but to simply enter Cimetière du Père-Lachaise (Père Lachaise Cemetery) then head straight to both graveyards and leave afterward will be a total waste as the 44 hectares cemetery is indeed one of a kind.
The Père Lachaise Cemetery is a breath of fresh air, a description that maybe not suitable for a burial site but after a week spent so much time lining up for various Paris museums and monuments, to walk freely without bumping to strangers is a refreshing experience.
I travel alone which basically put me in position where I don’t speak much of the time, yet I still crave for those quiet moments where I can just simply free my mind and let those long forgotten memories rush back, and to have those moments is to go where very few people visit.
Located at Boulevard de Ménilmontant reachable by either Metro Line 2 and 3 bound for Père Lachaise station and Line 3 by Gambetta station, the cemetery was opened in 1804 and remain as one of the world’s most visited.
A burial site for the greatest names in literature, science and arts, therefore attracting history aficionados, students on field trip and just curious travelers, it is not an exaggeration to say that Père Lachaise will change the way one associate terms such as spooky or scary to a cemetery.
Though most visitors right away head inside and starts to look for famous people tombstones in order to cross them out from a prepared list, the best way to appreciate the cemetery is to take it slow, simply follow the path, then respectfully stop and admire the unadorned headstones, the towering monuments, the elaborate mini chapels and the statues depicting so much emotions, then maybe along the way you will chance upon the burial sites of Piaf, Chopin, Proust to name a few.
There is nothing eerie about Père Lachaise, in fact it is quite the opposite as the cemetery exudes an ambiance of melancholy, tranquility and above all a reminder to appreciate that beautiful thing we called life.
“When a golden girl can win
Prayer from out the lips of sin,
When the barren almond bears,
And a little child gives away its tears,
Then shall all the house be still
And peace come to Canterville.”