We ventured out to Pere Lachaise Cemetery one slightly drizzly morning. Many Americans are most familiar with Jim Morrison of The Doors being buried there. And we certainly did make the effort to find his grave. I was always a fan of their music and didn’t get a chance to come here during my high school trip in 1990.
Certainly the cemetery is home to many other well-known individuals, both from France and several other countries. There are maps available at the cemetery entrances that indicate some of them. I don’t recall if the maps were bilingual – I don’t believe they were, but regardless they were easy enough to decipher. Wikipedia has a decent list of famous individuals here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P%C3%A8re_Lachaise_Cemetery#J
Yet the grounds are the final resting place of well over a million bodies, most of them not well-known but of course dearly loved by those who shared a life with them. It was early spring when we walked the grounds, and bright green leaves were just forming on the trees. Some early blooming flowers were just coming up. Though it was overcast, it was a beautiful place to wander around.
Though we frequently crossed paths with others, it remained a quiet and contemplative place. We stopped to rest in several spots and just soaked in the gardens and the fresh spring air. I was intrigued by the various styles of crypts often used, which are more elaborate than what I’m used to seeing, and I found them enjoyable to investigate. Sadly, too many seem to have been damaged, through nature or vandals.
As noted in the article linked above, there is a waiting list for the limited plots, with restrictions on eligibility. Remains are frequently stacked vertically due to the tight quarters.