Published: August 8th 2012August 8th 2012
Our last full day in Paris, and it was going to be a hot one. Thus far, the weather had been great - cool and sweet in Ireland, sunny and blue and warm in Paris. But a heat wave was rolling in, and we had no a/c in our apartment, so we decided to find something nice and cool to do - head to the cemetery!
After finally figuring out the appropriate lines and changes to be made on the Metro, we headed out to Pere Lachaise. I had of course seen pictures of the famous graves located there, but I had no idea it was as big as it was. It is like a small city, and they have maps at the entrance so you can manouever through the streets and find famous graves and monuments. It is also set atop a hill, so there are lots of stairs and climbing to get to the center. But, thankfully, it is also shaded and provided a cool and intriguing respite from the increasing temperature. The cemetery is jampacked with mausoleums, gravestones, tiny chapels, and statuary. There is a square in the center of the cemetery as well, with more beautiful
flower gardens and benches, and a great view out into Paris. We had decided to seek out one of the most famous residents of Pere Lachiase, Jim Morrison. It is not as easy to find your way about as you might think. Although the "streets" are marked, there are quite a few sidestreets and alleys that can lead you down the wrong path. Also, we took a picture of the map on Hank's cell phone rather than buy an actual map, so....yeah. Strolling thorugh the cemetery and reading names and dates and peeping into the chapels is an odd experience. It is lovely, peaceful, morbid, and thought-provoking all at once. Many graves had fresh flowers from those still mourning, or at least remembering, their loved ones. There were several little old French ladies all in black visiting on benches. And there were tourists, like us, seeking out famous memorials. We finally found Jim's grave and it is still colorfully decked out and obviously highly visited. As we headed back, we came across a water pump that dispensed fresh drinking water (athough I have to admit I had a pause when I thought about drinking water from a pump in the
middle of a giant, old cemetery...but it was HOT). Fea loved working the pump and was rejuvenated by a cold drink and a splash of water on her head.
Back on the Metro, we decided to get off on the Sebastpol stop and check out this neighborhood, recommended by Christian. After walking along a suburban street, and wondering why Chris would send us here, we finally found the pedestrian street that runs alongside, lined with shops and cafes and bars and lots of lively people. We caught the tail end of a capoeira dance put on by several...ahem...nicely proportioned young men. Fifi loved the drumming. We saw the Tour St Jacques, although we didn't realize that was what it was until later (thanks, Stacy!). We emerged into the theatre district and found Cafe Le Zimmer (cool description of the history of this brasserie, which has its origins in the 1800s - http://www.lezimmer.com/english/). It is very neat inside, red walls and gilt and heavy curtains andlots of photos of old movie and stage stars. Fifi got lasagne again, although a different vegetarian version, which she liked but not as much as her favorite bolognese! Hank and I split a sauerkraut
- three types of sausages, smoked pork, pork rib, potatoes and of course sauerkraut. YUM. It was so good, and Fea realized she loved smoked pork and kept demanding MOH MOH, sounding a lot like her Aunt Krista.
That was our last night, so lots of laundry and cleaning and sorting took place, as our train to Strasbourg left at 11:40 the next day. We got another small take out pizza and packed up, trying to locate a bajillion Fifi items that had been scattered about during our stay.
There are more photos below