Pere Lachaise Cemetery – Home to the most dead in Paris…
Tombs stacked upon tombs upon tombs. An enormous pile of corpses elaborately memorialized. Bodies dressed in stone. Winding, cobbled paths lead through layers of immortal goodbyes. It is all history. Crypts crumble, gates and fences rust. Flowers wilt. A crow hops from headstone to headstone to pay some last respects of the day.
People lean on tablets of their favourite poets and philosophers as, with a click, loved ones immortalise their presence among the famed dead. At Jim Morrisons grave, for example, there is a tree where people have wedged chewing gum into the bark. They use it as a smooth surface on which to write a note of respect to the late singer. ‘You relight my fire!’. ‘We are all spies…’ Two young ladies are looking for the final resting place of Edith Piaf. They tell me they have been looking for almost an hour now. “I hear she was difficult in real life too” I say. We all stand for a moment at her burial spot. The girls get their necessary photographic proof that Edith is dead.
“What’s over there?” one of the girls asks pointing up the hill. “It’s an area dedicated to those massacred in the concentration camps of the Second World War.” I say. “Is their anyone else worth seeing whilst we’re here?” They say. “Not anymore” I say.