Where Did They Bury Jim Morrison, the Lizard King? A Walking Tour of Curious Paris Cemeteries.

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Numérisation 300 DPI d'un tirage argentique 15*23 cm représentant la tombe de Jim Morrison. Photo prise, par François Le Douarin, dans la seconde moitié de la décennie 1980, au cimetière du Père Lachaise, à Paris. Numérisation au scanner, par François Le Douarin, en mai 2011 pour mise à disposition sur Wikimédia.
Grave of Jim Morrison, 1986, Cemetery Père-Lachaise, Paris. PHOTO BY ATEL301 (1986). PD-GNU free Documentation License, Wikimedia Commons.
Cemetery Raven
Cemetery raven, Cemetery Père-Lachaise, Paris. Photo by Dan Owen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stew researching cemeteries
Stew researching locations at Montmartre cemetery. Photo by Dan Owen.

 

Several of the overlooked Paris “attractions” includes the city’s public and private cemeteries (there are only two private ones). While Père Lachaise is by far the most famous Parisian cemetery, it is not the only interesting and curious cemetery to walk through. There are several reasons why visitors never experience these walks. The primary one is the limited time they have in the city and since there are so many priority sites to see, their itinerary can’t fit in a visit to a cemetery.

WHAT IS THE BOOK ABOUT?

Very simply, I take you for walks through some of the more curious Paris cemeteries—not just Père Lachaise. What you’ll like are the stories behind the occupants.

WHY WOULD YOU BUY MY BOOK?

There are three basic reasons why you might consider this book.

First, you may have been to Paris several times and you’re looking for something new to do.

Second, most of the books on the market only concentrate on Père Lachaise and its famous occupants (e.g., Oscar Wilde, Frédérick Chopin, and Jim Morrison). There are so many other cemeteries to see. These public and private cemeteries are the final resting place for many interesting people: both famous and not so famous.

Third and probably the most important reason, I will introduce you to people you’ve probably never heard of (i.e., the not so famous). As you stand over their graves, you will learn about their lives and interesting experiences. These are people who were famous in their day but time has forgotten.

LET ME INTRODUCE YOU TO

Sanson Crypt
Sanson family crypt. Montmartre Cemetery, Paris. Photo by Dan Owen.

The Sanson Family  Six generations of public executioners including Henri and his sons who executed King Louis XVI and his wife, Marie Antoinette. They are buried in Montmartre Cemetery.

Marcel Marceau  The great French actor and mime whom you can pay your silent respects to at Père Lachaise.

Alfred Dreyfus  The French army officer falsely accused, tried, and found guilty of treason in 1894. While ultimately exonerated, the “Dreyfus Affair” was a landmark case of anti-Semitism that would influence future Vichy government officials during World War II. Colonel Dreyfus lays at rest in the Montparnasse Cemetery.

Marie Curie  The great Polish scientist who with her husband, Pierre, went on to discover radioactivity. She is buried in a lead lined coffin resting in the Panthéon.

Robert Brasillach  The anti-Semitic writer and journalist. Brasillach was considered one of the primary collabos (collaborator) during the German occupation. He was executed after the French Liberation and is buried in the Charonne Cemetery.

Ferdinand de Lessep  De Lessep successfully built the Suez Canal but failed in his attempt to build the Panama Canal (and we all know the Americans finished the job for him). Ferdinand was the P.T. Barnum (“a sucker is born every minute”) of his day and he is entombed in Père Lachaise.

de Lafayette's Grave, Picpus
Marquis de Lafayette grave. Picpus Cemetery, Paris. Photo by Dan Owen.
Picpus Cemetery, mass grave
Burial pits of guillotine victims. Picpus Cemetery, Paris, France. Photo by Dan Owen.

Marquis de Lafayette and the Sixteen Carmelite Nuns Visit the only accessible private cemetery: Picpus Cemetery. Here you will see the two pits dug to accommodate the more than 1,300 victims of the guillotine set up in the Place de la Nation. To be buried in Picpus, one must be able to prove that an ancestor is buried in one of the two pits. De Lafayette’s wife had several family members guillotined in the last days of the Terror and so she and the Marquis gained entrance to their final resting places in Picpus.

These are just a few of the interesting occupants I will introduce you to along with their life stories.

 

Copyright © 2017 Stew Ross

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