Paris Past and Inception

Wednesday: a scavenger hunt for the dead.

Thursday: a peek into dreams.

On Wednesday afternoon, I visited the Le cimetière du PèreLachaise, the largest cemetery in Paris and the first garden cemetery in the world. Located in 20th arrondissementPèreLachaise is often overlooked by tourists because it is far from the center from Paris.

After visiting, however, I feel that it shouldn’t be, because I’ve never seen anything quite like it in my life.

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Endless Roads

The cemetery is a rather confusing place, both physically and abstractly. For one, although there are road signs, the cemetery is quite difficult to navigate. The cobblestone roads wind to strange places, tombs seem haphazardly placed (at all sorts of random angles), and sometimes it feels like you can keep walking forever without ever seeing another person.

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Crematorium and Columbarium

Yet, its atmosphere was perhaps the most confusing part of the cemetery. Some points, it felt eerie and discomforting. At other times, I felt a strange combination of beauty and ethereality.

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Cimetière du Père-Lachaise

A number of famous people are buried Père-Lachaise (making their graves the main “attractions” of the cemetery). Finding them, however, is no easy task, but I was able to locate a decent number of them.

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Oscar Wilde

The grave of Oscar Wilde is one of the, if not the, most visited in all of Père-Lachaise. It is now encased with glass, as a strange tradition developed throughout the years, in which women would put on red lipstick and kiss the tomb afterwards, leaving behind countless “kiss marks.” The grave is now “kiss proof,” as people say.

The epitaph on the graph is a verse from Wilde’s The Ballad of Reading Gaol:

And alien tears will fill for him

Pity’s long broken urn,

For his mourners will be outcast men,

And outcasts always mourn.

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Edith Piaf

Edith Piaf’s grave can be easily missed, as it’s hidden in the midst of many similar looking graves. Of course, there were people humming her signature La Vie en rose.

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Memorial to the Dead

At this point, the sky suddenly burst open, and the pouring of rain began. Some visitors began to make their way out of the cemetery, hoping to find shelter and a warmer place. I’m not sure why, but the harder it rained, the more I was determined to find the rest of these graves, specifically those of three famous composers.

And I did, with soaked shoes, damp hair, and sore feet.

(Side note: The pictures are a little blurry because I took them in the rain. I almost slipped a number of times too, so I hope you can feel my dedication through these photos.)

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Frédéric Chopin
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Gioachino Rossini
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Georges Bizet

On Thursday (another rainy day), I visited another underrated place: Pont de Bir-Hakeim.

I’m gonna bet that many of you know this place, even if you think you don’t.

No? Maybe this will ring a bell.

Aha! Now my blog post title makes a little more sense, doesn’t it?

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Pont de Bir-Hakeim

The Pont de Bir-Hakeim crosses over the Seine. Not only does is the bridge itself amazing to look at, but it is also a wonderful spot for looking at the Eiffel Tower from a different angle.

(Side note: Congrats to the newlyweds!)

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Trifecta
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Rainy View
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Side View
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Another Side View
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The Lone Light

Beautiful isn’t it? What I’m absolutely loving about studying abroad in Paris is the opportunity to explore places that aren’t necessarily the “typical” tourist spots. I get the freedom to unveil these gems myself (and also discover amazing restaurants, very important).

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Never-ending
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When does it end?

Anyways, I think I’m gonna end my blog post here tonight, but not before I post these two pictures.

A bridge and a cemetery.

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Pont de Bir-Hakeim
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Père Lachaise

Similar, aren’t they?

 

 

 

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