Pros:Spiritually refreshing atmosphere, invigorating after a day of sightseeing
Cons:Hilly, could be boring for kids; parties at Jim's grave occasionally disturb the mood
The Père Lachaise cemetery is, of course, one of the best-known and most-visited tourist attractions in Paris. With the aid of a map purchased from the flower-seller near the entrance, you can navigate your way to the graves of the famous and infamous, or just stroll along the winding, shaded paths. Having made the cemetery a stop on my sight-seeing itinerary in order to snap a photo of Jim Morrison's grave for a friend (he's one of those kind of fans), I first sought out this popular site, and was charmed by the tokens, offerings and notes left by other fans... though it disturbed me that some had overenthusiastically carried their grafitti over to a neighbouring tombstone.
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The most striking thing about the Père Lachaise, though, I found as I continued my stroll, visiting the burial sites of various literary greats, was its atmosphere. It wasn't just the venerable pines and exquisitely crafted tombs pleasing my eye; there is something special here. Although the cemetery is smack inside the center of bustling Paris, inside its walls the city noise fades to an unidentifiable murmur. More, I actually experienced a feeling of peace in this ancient burying-ground, something that has happened to me in no other cemetery.
Being entombed doesn't fit in with my post-mortem plans for myself, but if like the Lizard King I find myself suddenly and unexpectedly in need of a plot, I think one here is what I'd choose. I can believe that these spirits are truly laid to rest.