How romantic can a stroll on a cemetery be ?

To make it a more attractive place for eternal rest, the tombs of several French heroes were relocated, including Molière, La Fontaine and the lovers Abélard and Héloïse.

This Parisian version of Romeo and Juliet really took place. Héloïse and Abélard met on Ile de la Cité. 39 year old Abélard came to Paris to become an eminent tutor to give lesson to Héloïse, a young lady of 18. The difference in age didn't stop pupil and tutor from falling passionately in love. The lovers fled to Brittany and had a son, but did return to Paris. Abélard was caugth and castrated. In the end he became monk and Héloïse a nun. When Abélard died, Heloïse secretly transferred his bones and she was buried beside him in his coffin. Today, they are together again in Père Lachaise cemetery. Roses are regurlarly laid between their statues, a sign of admiration for two lovers who were forced to part, but now reunited forever.

The Père Lachaise cemetery offers an abundance of suprises to all visitors. Facing the main entrance, and at the end of the central drive, stands a monument dedicated to all the dead. It is often overlooked by visitors. The nearly forgotten sculptor Bartholomé spent 8 years of his life completing this masterpiece. He opted for an extremly sober depiction for the passage into the afterlife. On each side, nude women, men and children wait their turn. In the center is a couple: the woman's hand gently rests on her companion's left shoulder. On the level below, a slender couple has claimed by Death. The baby between them, also called away from the land of living, serves as a reminder of how fragile our existence is.

Many famous writers, poets, musicians, artist are burried here. Oscar Wilde, Balzac, Sarah Bernhardt, Bizet, Maria Callas, Jim Morrison, to name a few.


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