162 Coquina Key Drive
Ormond Beach, Florida 32176-8941 USA
in Peace; Rest in Paris
By Kay Fernandez
Here in Pere Lachaise, they sleep serenely. An impressive list
of who's who, these lodgers have no luxury hotels at their beck
and call. Rather, the residents rest in peace in the citys'
picturesque cemetery the most visited cemetery in the
Meandering through Pere Lachaise links art, history
and culture. On the eastern outskirts of Paris,
hilly Pere Lachaise's romantic
appeal dates to 1804. Named after Louis XIV's confessor, the
cemetery was originally the site of a Jesuit house of retreat.
Now visitors walk gingerly on the uneven brick pathways surrounded
by closely clustered graves. Tree-lined lanes twist, turn and
incline a stunning and dramatic place. Here, you can contemplate,
meditate or just inhale the tranquil environment.
So many famous people are buried here among the
million that maps are handed out. Some graves
are simplistic; others ornate.
Irish poet and dramatist Oscar Wilde, famous for "The Importance
of Being Earnest" and "The Picture of Dorian Gray," boasts
a massive monument adorned by a winged Egyptian figure. Other
writers in Pere Lachaise: Moliere, Proust, Gertrude Stein and
Even though Pierre Abelard died in 1142, his final resting place
is entombed next to Heloise. French scholar, philosopher, teacher
and theologian, Abelard tutored wealthy Heloise, who later became
an abbess. Teacher and pupil were secretly married, forced apart
and became one of history's famous romances.
The Polish-born Frederic Chopin was called a musical genius by
the time he reached his teen years. In his 39 years, Chopin wrote
concertos, sonatas, 50 mazurkas, 26 preludes, 24 etudes, 19 nocturnes,
15 waltzes, 11 polonaises, four ballades and three sonatas.
Pere Lachaise also houses composer Georges Bizet (Carmen), celebrated
stage actress Sarah Bernhardt, opera diva Maria Callas, actress
Simone Signoret, song bird Edith Piaf, artist Georges Seurat
and interpretive dancer Isadora Duncan.
Occasionally, the cemetery is a study in the unusual. Take American
rock star Jim Morrison, for instance. The 20-something leader
of The Doors was buried here in 1971. His fans and curiosity
seekers many of whom weren't even born in 1971 pay
homage by traipsing to Morrison's tombstone, which often has
a guard posted to discourage graffiti and to encourage respect
for those buried nearby.
Balzac, who is buried here, said, I seldom go out, but
when I feel myself flagging I go and cheer myself up in Pere
Lachaise...while seeking out the dead, I see nothing but the