Tuesday, 10 July 2012
I keep forgetting how close I am living to Pere Lachaise cemetery. I went there once the first time I visited Paris. It had been autumn, the weather had been lovely, and I fell hard for the city.
Now that I'm a kilometer away I ignored the cemetery completely.
I did start to run again in ernest. Gyms aren't really a huge feature of daily life here so I have to make it on my own. Also...a lot of fitness clubs are just places to relax in the sauna naked and have casual gay affairs. I haven't figured out how to tell the difference between a gym to work out and a gym to get worked out. For now, I will run in the great outdoors.
I planned a route on quiet and wide streets around the neighborhood that will take me a total of 4 or 5 miles. And lo, it leads me right around the edge of Pere Lachaise. Running here is pretty hilarious. People look alarmed...what am I running from? They look around nervously. What am I running towards? They look around with anticipation. There aren't a whole lot of runners here.
So after one of these runs, I decided to check it out again.
It's still a lovely and peaceful place.
You can buy a map at the entrance of mimeographed paper to show you the location of the famous graves. I know there is one in the Rough Guide book I have, that I couldn't be bothered with carrying around. I prefer to just wander. I've found Edith Piaf's grave twice, and Modigliani's once, and that's about it. I'm sure one day I'll get motivated and hit all the famous spots.
There is a pretty big hill you can climb. It has a nice view of the Eiffel Tower and parts of the city. We found a bench to rest our feet.
"Jim Morrison?" An American tourist approached us, gesticulated wildly. I shrugged.
"Geeem Morrison?" A couple of French men asked us, smoking and drinking from cans of beer.
"Jiiim Morris-son?" An Indian couple intrepidly questioned.
I still have no idea where his grave is. It amused me to hear everyone ask for his location though. All the nationalities and accents and different ages of people wanting to pay their respects to an American permanently in Paris.