This is a little glimpse of my penultimate day in Paris. My outfits whilst there were all simple with little makeup or real effort made due to packing light and the heat. As I was staying a few minutes' walk from Pere Lachaise cemetery, Corrie and I decided to take roses for Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde. Whenever I visit a new city I like to explore the cemetery and this was the most beautiful one I have seen. At each turn we saw names we recognized- film makers, philosophers, innovators etc. It's a very calm, restful place with a powerful sense of history.
A small florist outside the gates sold individual red roses, so we brought one each to lay on the graves. I won't post pictures of the actual graves as it feels disrespectful, but we eventually found them and spent some time contemplating how surreal the place is. I tried to imagine the ghosts of those who are buried there emerging at night and having philosophical discussions, writing songs and heaping scorn on visitors. It's a surprisingly salient image. Sadly, both graves are now protected by barriers to prevent them being defaced. I struggle to imagine why anyone would damage them, especially in such a serene place.
I recalled Patti Smith's writing about visiting Jim Morrison's grave shortly after his death and marvelled at the realisation that I was standing at a spot where she had been, albeit several decades ago. Throughout my time in Paris, I tried to recreate some of the things she described doing in Just Kids. In general, I treat that book as a template for my life whenever I lack certainty. This goes beyond literal replication to adopting her attitude which I see as one of openness to experiences and expression. Her writing remains in my mind almost constantly.
On the whole, the time I spent in Paris was absolutely wonderful. It was the first time I've been away without a family member and we somehow managed to find our way around. We saw everything we had planned to, spending each day exploring new places. Nights were spent playing cards or writing by the open window of our apartment after cooking with fresh vegetables brought on the way back.
Also, how perfect are these roses? I desperately wanted to bring some home though it probably would have completely wilted on the journey.
Corrie with the roses.
After leaving the cemetery, Corrie and I sat in a quintessential cafe with coffee and Lotus biscuits to write our notebooks. Then we spontaneously decided to get tattoos together (which I will post pictures of soon), to symbolize our time in Paris.
This is just a short post and I have lots more to write about from the trip.
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