Friday, April 29, 2011

Garden of the Dead

"A garden of the dead": This was the phrase my Paris guidebook used to describe Pere Lachaise - the largest and most famous cemetery in the world - located in the northeast corner of Paris. This is a fitting epithet, as I discovered today on my journey to paint this vast land of souls laid to rest.

Pere Lachaise is like a world unto itself - with it's winding tree-lined pathways through acres of tombs, monuments, and mausoleums. Inside the walls of this cemetery are buried the likes of Oscar Wilde, Marcel Proust, Honore de Balzac, the famous lovers Peter Abelard and Heloise, Edith Piaf, and our very own Jim Morrison. A big thank you to Rachel M. for suggesting this spot.

This morning when I awoke, it was overcast and grey - so I killed time doing other tasks waiting for the weather to clear up so I could go paint at Pere Lachaise. Then it dawned on me - what better time to go hang out in a 200 year-old cemetery than under a dark, brooding sky. How morbidly Romantic.

Halfway through my little painting, an old French man with piercing blue eyes approached me and told me I was very "courageux" to be painting here. When I asked him why, he responded jovially in French "Aren't you afraid that a dead person will rise up out of one of those tombs?" We both laughed and I responded that I wasn't afraid.
But now that he mentioned it.......

I spent the remaining daylight hours in a cafe just outside the cemetery drinking one coffee after another, getting buzzed on the caffeine, writing, and drawing - waiting for the rush hour to end so that I didn't have to crowd onto the metro with a wet painting. That never ends well.

I was thankful to have yet another unique and authentic Paris experience.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Paris, France

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