Saturday, March 13, 2010

Walk 19: Cimetière du Père-Lachaise

So, I just received a letter from my friend Jaclyn, and I figure that if she can find the time to write me a letter, I can find the time to blog. This seems especially true when I consider that I NEED to blog for two of my classes. All right, Shaina, let's get to work.
This afternoon a big group of us met up at Père-Lachaise, on of the world’s largest and most fascinating cemeteries. It’s so large that it actually has streets and road signs to keep you from getting lost. Maybe it’s morbid, but I actually really like cemeteries, and this one was particularly cool, since it looked like something straight out of a Halloween movie. The gray skies, crumbling tombs, fallen leaves, and black cats definitely added to the spooky atmosphere.

To be honest, I knew nothing about many of the people whose tombs we saw today. Seriously, who is Enrico Cerniushi? Some of the others I had heard about in classes, though, so I now have proof that I’m still learning, even though I’m in Paris. I now know, for example, that Théodore Géricault painted the Raft of the Medusa, that Georges-Eugénge Haussmann rebuilt Paris under Napoleon III, and that Héloise and Abélard were legendary lovers. It turns out that being a tourist is more fun when you know something about what you’re looking at.

I was most excited to see two tombs in particular, however. The first on my list was the grave of Colette. I must confess that I’ve never actually read any of her works, but I am eternally grateful to her for discovering my hero, Audrey Hepburn. She once saw Audrey making a small English film and declared “There is my Gigi!” She demanded that Audrey star in the Broadway musical for her novella of that name, and the rest is history. Thanks, Collette. You make my list of favorite people.

The other site I really wanted to visit was the tomb of Oscar Wilde. My favorite play is The Importance of Being Ernest, and I also love An Ideal Husband and several other Wilde works. Whether I read his plays, see them performed live, or watch the movies, they never fail to make me laugh out loud (For a little taste, you can watch one of my favorite scenes from The Importance of Being Ernest). So of course I had to pay homage in the traditional way of Wilde fans: I kissed his tomb. After applying a little lip gloss and puckering up, here was my result:

I also appreciated seeing the monuments to Holocaust victims, especially after visiting Normandy a couple of days ago. On Thursday I was able to see the final resting place of thousands of young Americans, and today I was reminded of those they died to save. They paid the ultimate price to save others from ultimate suffering. We can never be grateful enough.

1 comment:

  1. I feel so special for inspiring you to blog. I hadn't checked your blog in a while, and then I got on here today and there were three new entries! It made me happy.
    Um, P.S., Oscar Wilde's tomb is kind of weird. And if you were intending to post a link to one of your favorite scenes from The Importance of Being Earnest, I don't think it worked.
    And you misused "it's" in the first sentence of your previous post. Just thought you would like to know. :-p


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