When night falls tones of piano and guitar gently meld together and a beautiful chorus of voices come together to sing a melody that would bring even the most cynical of man to tears.
A fog rolls in and among the gravestones there are memories and snippets of time coming forward to say listen. Join… the beat goes on.
This is what I see when I envision Père Lachaise Cemetery. Active imagination in full check though this cemetery is full of famous history and of sadness. Of peace and a desperation almost to be heard.
A scenic stop when visiting France, this cemetery is known as one of the most haunted places in the world. It boosts such celebrities as Jim Morrison, Frédéric Chopin, and Edith Piaf. If you don’t recognize the lovely Edith’s name, look up Non je ne regrette rien, her version is internationally known and recognized and when released stayed on the top of the charts for seven consecutive weeks.
It is said that many of these famous spirits still linger around their graves to say “Hello” and this particular area has become a must stop place for many while in the area. Looking through the shots people have taken while visiting I can surely see why, from the mini chapels to the intricately cut statues that grace some of the more prominent graves, it is beautiful to behold.
Something that I will admit to not knowing was that while you CAN technically be buried here, it is only in two instances. One is to have died in the city, the other to live there. But even with these two requirements having been met it is on a timed basis for most of the new graves.
During relatively recent times, the Père Lachaise has adopted a standard practice of issuing thirty-year leases on grave sites, so that if a lease is not renewed by a family, the remains can be removed, space made for a new grave, and the overall deterioration of the cemetery minimized.
You or your family can buy increments of time in ten, thirty, and even fifty years. While this honestly shocked me, what struck me more was the fact that between the main cemetery and the Aux Morts ossuary which is where remains that have been removed from the cemetery due to space restraints, there are cited anywhere from two to three million souls.
That being said it is not on the level of the reported number to be in the Paris catacombs which is estimated at about seven million. Still allot of souls wandering and many stories of spiritual visits have been had at both of these Famous locations.
Looking at the photos the serene location seems to hold a calm and closure that most look for when visiting a cemetery. But other visitors have stated that the calm is an unnatural one.
Whether the site can be believed to be haunted or not fully depends on the perception and belief of those entering. But I believe either way Père Lachaise holds for those who visit a unique opportunity to experience amazing things.
A side note, one photo here is actually of a location offsite, that is because while Chopin’s body rests in the cemetery, his heart lies in a pillar at the Holy Cross Church. This is because his final request to his sister was to take his heart back to home to Poland. She managed to honor his request and they buried it and erected a monument over it.
Fun fact, during WW2 the Nazi’s knowing the power his music had over Polands citizens, stole the heart. After the war it was given back and an inquiry recently in 2014 allows the citizens to rest peacefully knowing that his heart still lies in their homeland beating his countries pride.