Pere Lachaise in Paris

Some photos from my too-short stroll through this famous cemetery in Paris.

As I was walking there, it occurred to me to wonder whether Francis Poulenc might be buried there. He is, and his memorial was my first stop. The composer of some of the best melodies ever, including Le Bestiaire and Tel Jour Tel Nuit, gets first billing for me.

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I stopped by to see Bellini, whose memorial was steps away, and made a commitment to investigate his music more thoroughly.

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Went up the hill a bit to see Chopin’s grave. When I visited Kafka’s grave in Prague I left him a pen; I left Chopin a small piece of blank staff paper (if you click on the photo, you can see it rolled up in the fence there on the right).

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I found Paul Éluard and Guillaume Apollinaire, French surrealist poets whose words Poulenc set. I told Éluard that Poulenc sent his regards (I took the liberty, then returned the message to Poulenc on the way out).

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I took a lot of photos. Here are a few shots of typical views in the cemetery.

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And yes, on my way out, because I was right there (and because you’ll ask), I did look at Jim Morrison’s grave. After seeing Molière’s grave, and after seeing Poulenc, Chopin, Bellini, Éluard, Apollinaire, and even Edith Piaf, Morrison’s achievement seemed inversely proportionate to his notoriety (his is by far the most popular grave at the graveyard).

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I left Oscar Wilde, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, and many others for my next visit. If you’re ever in Paris, I highly recommend making time to visit this fantastic place.

mz

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