20th, Père Lachaise Cemetery continued

previous page, Victor Noir

Per Lachaise Cemetery, cont.

The photograph on the left shows the entrance to the truly final resting place for many of the occupants of Père Lachaise. As I mentioned in the previous page many of the older graves are in a rather sorry state. When this happens and the grave is not protected in any way, e.g. like the beautiful yellow lady, the bones are dug up and placed in here.

When it was first opened the sculpture of the naked man and woman was thought so shocking that it was veiled off from public view.

Two more unknowns, the gentleman on the left obviously loved driving, and one feels no sadness at all, while the sculpture on the above needs no language to explain the emotion it conveys.

The tomb of Victor Noir

On the right is the tomb of Victor Noir, journalist who was shot at the age of 22 by Prince Pierre Bonaparte. This happened during one of the many anti-royalty periods.

Victor's funeral was attended by 100,000, and a prominent sculptor made this bronze, supposedly of how he looked just after he was shot. As you may be able to make out he has the top button of his trousers undone and is rather well-endowed.

It is believed that if an infertile woman, or woman wishing to conceive a child caresses the appropriate part she will conceive. And after the child is born she should return and place flowers on Victor's grave. Well think what you want but the grave always had flowers and the bronze a shiny part.

There are huge numbers of other graves to see, but my favourite is that of Oscar Wilde. The grave itself is an ugly block with a male angel who has had a certain part of his anatomy removed so many times that the authorities have stopped replacing it. However the reason I am so fond of this grave is that it is usually covered in lipstick kisses. Not something I would normally approve of, but somehow not out of place here. And perhaps showing more affection for Oscar than the hideous concrete angel.

In contrast, those paying homage to Jim Morrison have been less kind and the poor man's grave has come to resemble an overgrown ashtray.

Pere Lachaise is also the last resting place of the lovers Abelard and Heloise, whose remains were transferred here in 1817.

Père Lachaise, Victor noir
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