Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pere Lachaise Cemetery - Paris Photos and Info - John Brody Photography

These photos and history profiles of some my favorite highlights from Paris are being added here by request - by demand actually... Some playfully nasty letters from some Paris lovers have been hitting my inbox because they're not too happy that I shut down a web site that used to contain some of this travel info and pictures. So here you go you cranky Francophiles, Enjoy yourselves! ;)

Pere Lachaise Cemetery Paris France - John Brody Photography - Click for Larger Image - History summary by John Brody
Pere Lachaise Cemetery - A Brief History

In the early days Pere Lachaise was a poor district, with many outlaws, winding streets, shady avenues. It's located on a old hill of Champ l'Eveque where a rich merchant built his house in 1430.

In the 17th century the Jesuits, converted it into a hospice for members of their order. It became a meeting place under influence of Pere Lachaise Louis XIV's confessor. In 1803, under Napoleon, the Prefect of Paris bought it to build a cemetery. It was an incredibly successful piece of land speculation. Nicolas Frochot, the urban planner who bought the land, persuaded the civil authorities to rebury Molière, La Fontaine, Abelard and Heloise in his new cemetery. Pere-Lachaise became the ultimate symbol for the rich and successful.

The Grave of Chopin at Pere Lachaise Cemetery Paris France - Click for Larger Image and Galleries - Photo by John Brody Photography - Historcal summary by John BrodyIronically, Frochot even sold a plot to the original owner for considerably more money than the price he had paid for the entire site. Even today, the rates are still extremely high. Some of the most celebrated dead have unremarkable tombs while those whose fame died with them or who were nonentities to start with have the most expressive monuments.

A winding stone pathway through the cemetery above and the grave of chopin at left. As with all pictures here click to go to full sized photo album.

- John Brody Photography