Cemeteries in Paris

Jun 1st, 2003, 02:46 PM
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Cemeteries in Paris

Making the trip to Pere Lachais where Jim Morrison is buried sounds like a fun experience. I'm taking along my 11 year old and wondered if this would be a fun idea. Is it a gloomy place? I know that it is a big spot and very popular. Are the other cemeteries in Paris a better or more interesting visit? Anyone have a favorite plot to visit?
annamo is offline  
Jun 1st, 2003, 03:00 PM
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Jim Morrison's grave is actually pretty small, but there are so many other famous people buried there, with more elaborate monuments, Oscar wilde, Chopin, etc..
I went there to see Morrison's plot, but ended up walking around for few hours finding the other plots. You pick up a map at the entrance, with all the famous people listed.
I did enjoy the few hours there, but to be honest, I would not go back there nor any other cemetary, it's just a personal feeling, so take my advice for what it's worth.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Jun 1st, 2003, 05:02 PM
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There are a number of very interesting monuments, not always of famous people.

It's a nice half day.

Have you considered the Luxembourg gardens? It has a large pool where kids sail their boats.
ira is offline  
Jun 1st, 2003, 05:23 PM
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Ha! I just posted my last response, and now I see this! Great minds think alike! It's not at all gloomy, but now has a security guard posted there so you must avoid sitting on other tomb stones (not that I would out of respect anyway, but when I was first there in '72, that was a different story). My kid, my 15 y.o. niece and my cousins and their kid (13) also found it to be a memorable experience.

I personally prefer a walk through the Montparnasse cemetery, I guess because it's not so imposing, but I always like to say hello to the likes of Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Maupassant, and even Jean Seberg, if anyone remembers her from Bonjour Tristesse.
Surfergirl is offline  
Jun 1st, 2003, 05:30 PM
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Bonjour tristeese! I like Pere Lachaise. it's like a beauitiful little village with little streets, so different from our cemeteries and besides my favorite writers are all there, and I was not around to have shared a conversation with them at their time.Now they are riveted in my conversation...lol
cigalechanta is offline  
Jun 1st, 2003, 05:57 PM
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There is a guidebook for the cemetaries called "Permanent Parisians." It has maps of famous graves and stories behind them. It is actually a very interesting book about a somewhat macabre subject. I'm sure you can get it on Amazon.
Ryan is offline  
Jun 1st, 2003, 05:57 PM
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The Pere Lechaise Cemetery is a fascinating experience for all ages. And the Jim Morrison grave is not one of the more interesting or memorable ones.
Adults will find it interesting for both the number of famous who are buried and the "visual uniqueness" of the place. Young people will be fascinated by the latter. Many of the gravestones are unique indeed.
HowardR is offline  
Jun 1st, 2003, 06:35 PM
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Your 11-year-old will need to be fantastically well read and musically and historically inclined to get a kick out of Père-Lachaise. It is full of well-known historical people from all different countries and backgrounds from Abélard and Eloise to Jim Morrison, but they're dead and it's just a large area filled with tombs.
We took our kids there a couple of years ago when they were 10 and 13 and it was pretty ho-hum for them. Jim Morrison's grave had a large number of people around it, smoking pot and lighting candles. Since my kids didn't even know who Jim Morrison was, this was a bit of a mystery to them, albeit one that distracted them for a good 15 minutes. Otherwise, it's just a huge cemetary - not something an 11-year-old is likely to have a grand time visiting, especially given that Paris has so many other great things an 11-year-old would probably enjoy. I would certainly never classify a visit to Père-Lachaise with an 11-year-old "a fun idea."
StCirq is online now  
Jun 1st, 2003, 07:07 PM
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I think I am in agreement with St Cirq's comments. It's a cemetery, that's all, if your child has never been to one, it might be gloomy, but it's no more gloomy than any other cemetery. It may be interesting to those who aren't familiar with that particular style (which you can see in some other places -- such as mausoleums, and for those who are particularly interested in certain persons for various reasons, but I would never regard any cemetery as "fun" nor a trip to a cemetery for an 11-year old as a fund idea. This is a place of respose for the dead, regardless of your religous beliefs. I just don't think hardly any 11 year olds would find cemeteries a fun trip, Pere Lachaise or any other.

I do have some favorite graves or mausoleums there because of my personal interests -- Apollinaire, Heloise and Abelard, Chopin, and Poulenc.
Christina is offline  
Jun 1st, 2003, 09:07 PM
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I agree a child of 11 would not enjoy the place nor should Morrison be made out to be admired. I'm reposting to suggest to you to take the child to the Bois de Vincennes. There is a lake and floral garden, it has an Exotarium(tropical fish and reptiles) and the park's big zoo which is no.1 in France.( its residents living cageless in open spaces.)
cigalechanta is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2003, 12:16 AM
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Our friends just returned from 2 weeks in Paris with their 14 yo son. He loved the sewer tour! I think the cemetary is fascinating but don't think the kids will. In terms of my favorites..I made certain I visited Piaf's grave before I saw the Eifeel Tower. I also made hommage to Oscar Wilde,Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas(which is rather underatated comapred with Wilde's). The monuments to the concentration camps and the resistance are particularly moving. Again, I don't know if an 11 year old will think so.
PamSF is offline  
Jun 6th, 2003, 08:20 AM
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The cemetery was actually my 11 year old's idea. I wasn't sure I wanted to take the time to stroll through a cemetery, but I'm going to have the help of one of the guides written about here. He has consented to help since he says he knows his way around all of the cemeteries in Paris. I'll need to decide which one to visit. Pere Lachais sounds the most interesting to me. I read that it's the largest, so having someone's help should save us time and make things a bit more interesting for us if we are not familiar with the people we visit there.
thank you to all once again for their suggestions.
annamo is offline  
Jun 6th, 2003, 09:31 AM
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There is a small section in Pere Lachaise that is set aside for the sprinkling of ashes. Both times we were there we witnessed several ceremonies with weeping family members. I don't know how your child would feel if he saw this happening. It is not a "fun" experience. For an adult, the cemetery is a very interesting place to visit with many notables buried there.
Wags is offline  
Jun 6th, 2003, 10:08 AM
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Heloise and Abelard's is the tomb that first drew me to Pere LaChaise, but who is Poulenc?

www.paris.org/Expos/PereLachaise/pl.history.html has maps of the cemetery
so does http://www.frommers.com/images/desti...secemetery.jpg
elaine is online now  
Jun 6th, 2003, 10:18 AM
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Elaine he was a French composer but Christina will tell you more.
What I wanted to ask is that tho the tomb of Heloise and Abalard is impressive. I think today he would be in jail for seducing his young student
and everything I have read about the affair makes him out not to be the wonderful guy that he was. She would be well known today anyway, I think, because her writings are so beautiful. Curious what you think.
cigalechanta is offline  
Jun 6th, 2003, 10:45 AM
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We did the cemeteries in Montparnasse and Montmartre with my 11 year old granddaughter and had to drag her out she was so fascinated with the vaults, the stained glass inside and the statues. Of course, she is used to being taken to cemeteries at home while her Mom does genealogy research. We didn't do the Pere Lachais because it wasn't on our loosely prepared itinerary. The Paris cemeteries aren't gloomy at all; there is always some family member planting and watering the flowers, etc. It seems to be much more a part of their lives than our rituals here in the U.S. If you have to pick one, I would suggest Montparnasse because there is a crystal bird and a huge cat (and it's flat; no hill climbing!). And nearby, you could also do the catacombs.
palette is offline  
Jun 6th, 2003, 11:20 AM
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Hi cigalchanta
I never thought Abelard was a wonderful guy, I'm just compelled by the story.
I don't really mind that he seduced his pupil; age meant different things in those days, and based on her later letters she was a very eager lover.
What bothers me about him is that he "got religion" and then abandoned her (and their child), leaving her with basically only one respectable career and life choice, which she clearly never fully, internally, embraced, at least not the way he embraced his
monkhood. Monk-dom? Monk-ness?
He at least was still able to write for a time, and travel; she was pretty much locked away.
elaine is online now  

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