Keith and were talking this morning about Paris and how many wonderful photos and experiences we have yet to share. Each day while we were there, we made a point to take a walk (or Metro ride or trip on the SNCF) to some amazing site in and around Paris. The kids were so good about their long walks. Yes, Gabby had “strolly” with her for those really long walks but for the most part, the kids couldn’t have been more agreeable. Isabella walked as much as we did – without complaint.
During the month that we were there – we saw all sorts of historic or relevant places. One the kids particularly enjoyed running through was Pere Lachaise Cemetery. Again, another spot in Paris that has been cleaned up. You used to be able to smell the Jack Daniels from the minute you walked through the gates of the cemetery. You just followed the spray paint and broken alcohol bottles right to Jim Morrison’s grave. That was so awful. Many other graves desecrated (so many well know people buried there such as Moliere, Balzac, Chopin, Delacroix, Haussmann, Lalique, Proust, Edith Piaf, Suerat, Gertrude Stein, Toklas, Wilde) by crazed Doors fans. I of course was a Jim Morrison fan which is why I made my way there too some 20+ years ago – but very sad to see the fan’s enthusiasm make the cemetery so broken down.
But now everything was cleaned up. Jim Morrison’s grave has a rope around it with some flowers. You can still smell the lingering aroma of old booze soaked into the neighboring trees and ground – but it is so much better than what it once was.
The cemetery proved to be not only a fun spot for the kids but also educational. We talked about dates (Wow – people were born in the 1600’s?, which prompted all sorts of great conversations about what it was like to live way back then.) Religions. Why is there a Star of David on that stone? Famous composers, artists, singers. The man who redesigned Paris in the 1800’s – Mr. Haussmann. They were starting to grasp grand boulevards v small streets. Old Paris v new Paris. It was a fun history lesson.
And of course there was the dark side. Questions about death. Why were some people buried in these houses. Was it haunted? Wondering if they could climb into these broken down doorways – nervously peering into graves that had shifted. Proceeding very gingerly.
Another enjoyable walk around Paris with kids!