Friday, October 22, 2004

View from the Top

My son has been begging to go up to the top of the Eiffel Tower. We've been in France 4 years now, and for some reason, he hasn't made it up to the top. He's been to the second floor plenty of times, but no one ever took him further. Tonight, after an exhausting week, and with the prospect of 10 days of "vacation" (for the kids, not the parents), my husband suggests we climb the Eiffel Tower tonight. It's true... it was an absolutely beautiful day in Paris and the evening was perfect, but it was 9pm. Well, we did it. The lines were non-existent and we made the whole trip... walking to the ET, taking the elevator up to the top, and then walking down and walking home took a total of 1 hour and 45 minutes. Not bad! Bonus: my daughter fell asleep in the stroller on the way home.
Today for my walking tour we went to Pere Lachaise cemetery. I'd been there once before with my friend visiting from the US. Too bad he couldn't come on the tour. There is so much interesting history in the cemetery. Additionally, it was a perfect day for walking around because the trees had multi-colored leaves and the air was crisp. Anyway, the cemetery was designed in 1804 but was a failure of sorts at the time -- no one seemed to want to be buried there. Under Napoleon, in 1817, a decision was made to move some famous bodies into the cemetery: Moliere and La Fountain, two of France's cultural icons. After that, it was a very popular place and today some 70,000 people are buried there. Pere La Chaise, who lived in a convent in the park before it was turned into a cemetery, was the confessor of Louis XIV. Now there are many famous people buried there: Sarah Bernhardt, Colette, Edith Piaf, Balzac, Chopin, and Jim Morrison to name a few. Our tour guide said he read that Cher just bought a plot at the cemetery. Other things to note... Napoleon wanted to mix things up in the cemetery and so anyone who lived in Paris could be buried in the cemetery -- Christians, Atheists, Jews, Arabs, and people who committed suicide are all neighbors in this large plot of land. There are also sad, beautiful, horrifying monuments to those who died in the Nazi concentration camps, executed resistance fighters and those who weren't located in WWII. We spent more than two hours there, but you could easily spend the day.... Especially if you have a good tour guide!

Two lovers from the crematory section of the cemetary.

-- said Auntie M in Paris
10:58 PM



Apparently you can visit the catacombs under Paris. A long walk with lots of skulls and bones, not for the kids!!

# posted by Anji : 2:01 PM  

I'm told the catacombs are for the teenagers. My son would never sleep again if he went to visit them!

# posted by Auntie M in Paris : 2:15 PM  

that picture from the cemetery ... so touching. i'd like that, but i'll be dead so won't even know.

# posted by zoe : 7:45 PM  

Wow! Thanks for the link to Pere Lachaise... very interesting!

# posted by Anonymous : 11:15 PM  

Hey! That friend was me, oui?

# posted by Anonymous : 4:21 PM  

Mais oui BR. You are the only friend who expressed an interest in visiting a cemetary while visiting Paris. What's on for your next visit, the catacombs?

# posted by Auntie M in Paris : 6:34 PM  

Je m'appelle leanne. very nice blog. i, personally, wouldnt mind going into le catacombs for a visit. it sounds like fun.

# posted by Anonymous : 12:13 PM  

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