Montmartre to Pere Lechaise to Notre Dame

Trip Start Jun 08, 2012
Trip End Jun 23, 2012

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Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Monday, June 18, 2012

Today was supposed to be a fairly easy day-- go to Montmartre and up to Sacre Coeur and just hang out.  That was not quite what happened.  I started the day at 6:30 by running three times around Champ de Mars from Ecole Militaire to the Eiffel Tower. It had rained all night but had stopped at 6 so the air was clean and the temp in the mid-50's, but the ground was sloppy. 

We started the day's tour by heading up to Montmartre on the Metro.  While waiting to take the funicular up to Sacre Coeur,  Robyn saw a public Toilette and decided to make a quick stop. (relative term, here)  This was one of those self-cleaning bathrooms which takes about 3 minutes between each use for the cleaning to complete.  So 40 minutes later... Robyn finally got into the Toilette.  We finally got up to Sacre Coeur and although the view is great I think it was overblown, since I was under the impression that all of Paris was visible from the steps of Sacre Coeur but it's not.  Plus, it was hazy.  To see all of Paris requires ascending into the tower and that was not going to happen with Robyn's hip, knee, and foot problems.  We went through the cathedral sanctuary but the Catholic cathedrals are all starting to look alike--old stately stuff and stained-glass windows-- if you have seen one you pretty much have seen them all.


Boy, did we really see the scam artists at work. Everywhere you turned, there were men (boys) putting stupid braided bracelets on people and asking them for money. We found the secret-you just keep walking and totally ignore them, but it was amazing how many people got suckered in.

We had lunch at a cute cafe that served crepes.  Mark had a great pizza and Robyn, of course,  had crepes.

After leaving Montmarte we headed over to Pere Lachaise.  The first thing we noticed besides that it is old was how close the tombs are to each other.  The guidebook Robyn was using  suggested a Metro stop that was one past the Pere Lachaise stop. It  became evident why very quickly because we got off the Metro at the top of the cemetery and walked downhill.  This was a big help because of the cobblestone paths all through the cemetery that made it very difficult to walk.  Robyn had selected a few graves to visit starting with stage and silent film star Sarah Bernhardt.  Just as we found her tomb a guide of sorts walked up and told us she was Jewish,  yet there is cross on her tomb which  he said was to protect the tomb from anti-semites disturbing it.   We went on to locate Fredric Chopin's tomb which was the third great composer we saw on this trip.  His tomb was very elaborate but the most striking aspect was that the front said "Fred Chopin."  I had never thought of Frederic Chopin as being just "Fred."  The last tomb we went to see was Jim Morrison's, but the "guide" stated that his body has been moved to California by his father because of all the constant vandalism that had been done to the tomb.  The vandalism was done by fans who were trying to take a piece of the tomb with them or to leave a message.  I have not been able to confirm that Jim Morrison has actually been moved, but  it is an interesting premise.  For my sister we took several pictures.

We were pretty exhausted after Pere Lachaise but decided to head over to Notre Dame and Sainte Chapelle.  We were going to go through Sainte Chapelle but the line was really long, so we just went over to Notre Dame.  We toured Notre Dame, which is magnificent, but the most surprising aspect was they allowed photography inside as long as no flash was used.  When we finished with Notre Dame it was back to the hotel with the plan to possilbly come back to see Sainte Chapelle in the morning.


Even though we were tired from all the walking we walked down after dinner to watch the lights come on at the Eiffel Tower.  Since the sun did not set until late, the lights did not actually come on until after 10:00 so Robyn just kept taking pictures of the tower from different angles and a few of Ecole Militaireso  I won't upload all 400 pictures.   I thought I was going to have to carry Robyn back to our hotel. 


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Debby on

Thanks for the picture of Jim Morrision's grave. There is acutally a Metro stop right outside of of the cemetary. The tour books seem to have you going to another. When Melanie and I were there, the tombstone engraver was there working on the headstone for Marcel Marceau because his family was going to have an unveiling of his headstone the upcoming weeken. We took pictures of him working it. Did you hang out at Montemarte and watch the artists work. I loved sitting at the cafe adjecent and watching them. Aren't the public toilets great? Very weird. Loved the picture of the idiot tourists, looks like you're having fun.

Jhon on

Wikipedia says:
"The grave had no official marker until French officials placed a shield over it, which was stolen in 1973. The site previous to the 1973 theft was covered with shells and letters. In 1981, Croatian sculptor Mladen Mikulin placed a bust of Morrison and a new gravestone with Morrison's name at the grave to commemorate the 10th anniversary of his death; the bust was defaced through the years by cemetery vandals and later stolen in 1988. In the 1990s Morrison's father, George Stephen Morrison, placed a flat stone on the grave. The stone bears the Greek inscription: ΚΑΤΑ ΤΟΝ ΔΑΙΜΟΝΑ ΕΑΥΤΟΥ, literally meaning 'according to his own daemon' and usually interpreted as 'true to his own spirit'. "

In The Doors book "No One Here Gets Out Alive", it says that Jim's grave site at Pere` La Chaise was only to be "rented" for 30 years and that as July 6, 2001 marked the 30 year anniversary of his being buried, he was to be exhumed and moved. However, additional rent was paid and an official bronze sculpture created by Mladen Mikulin is awaiting a license to be put on the grave site.

Since nobody can put anything on the internet that isn't true; there you have it.

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