Not about last year’s BP (body count has been pretty high the last couple of years — a case of art imitating life?), but about a day in the life of a research trip to Paris, four years ago today. From the nostalgic travelogue archive:
25 February, 2004, Paris, France
Got a late start. Banlieu train was delayed in Domont, so we didn’t leave until around 2 PM. Took metro line #2 from Gare du Nord to Pére Lachaise cemetery — started to drizzle a little when we arrived. A true meteorological melange. Sun, sun showers and full-on rain. Wandered aimlessly for a while, finally happening upon a map. An amazing history…Oscar Wilde (whose grave is an interesting Art Deco sculpture covered with people’s “kisses”), the Mur des Fédérés (where the Communards were executed…) — lots of old communists buried in the area (also monuments dedicated to the dead of Buchenwald, Auschwitz, etc…). Tried to find Auguste Blanqui’s grave, which was only marginally successful…
Happened upon the sepulcher of Allan Kardec, the great French Spiritualist, a little savage “grotto” covered in fresh cut flowers. Amazing. Inscription read: “Tout effet a une cause. Tout effet intelligente a une cause intelligente. La puissance de la cause est en raison de la gradeur de l’effet.”
At that point, the whole place took on a rather mystical cast, the result of strange effects of the light. A little wizened old French lady stood beside the grave. Suddenly my partner, A, came back from wandering away and said a black cat had crossed her path. When I turned my attention back to the grave, the old lady had disappeared…
As we headed toward Jim Morrison’s tomb we were waylaid by a civil servant who told us to leave, as the cemetery was “closed”. Prevented from our rock & roll experience by bureaucracy and technocracy. Somewhat ironic.
Now sitting and having a raspberry beer in the Café Leffe, looking across the Seine at Notre-Dame. Wonderful.
Indeed. Quite wonder-ful.