WOEFULTOURIST knows what you’re thinking – “Why in the world is he writing a post about a cemetery?” A good question, indeed. After all, who in their right mind wants to visit a cemetery while on vacation!
Apparently, a heck of a lot of you.
Tens of thousands take official Cemetery Tours while they’re vacationing in New Orleans. Frankly, WOEFULTOURIST prefers to eat and drink himself silly while he’s in the Crescent City and sees no need to take the time to check out mausoleums.
Yet, plenty of others feel differently.
What is strange, macabre and bizarre to some folks, is downright intriguing to others.
Which brings us to Pere LeChaise Cemetery.
One of the most visited tourist sites in Paris.
There’s no official tally.
You don’t enter via turnstiles which count everyone passing, so to speak.
There’s no tickets you need to have in order to enter, so they can’t keep an exact count.
Nevertheless, those people who keep track of such things tell the rest of us that Pere LeChaise Cemetery is one of the most visited tourist attractions in all of Paris.
Who is WOEFULTOURIST to argue.
While there are plenty of tourists who go to sites simply because they are told that they would be fools to travel all of the way to Paris (for example) and not take the time to see site X, that doesn’t seem to be a sufficient reason for most of us to spend valuable vacation time in a place of the dead.
So, why do it?
How about the fact that Pere LeChaise Cemetery happens to be the biggest cemetery in Paris?
Unfortunately, the fact that there are more dead people in that one spot than in any other arondissemont in Paris, isn’t a real draw to most people.
How about the fact that there’s lots of famous dead people – most of whom are French and you have probably never heard of them?
Still, no takers?!
Well, what if WOEFULTOURIST told you that Jim Morrison, of the rock group The Doors, was buried there? Would that make you want to visit?
Of course it would.
And thousands of others just like you,, who take a pilgrimage to see the grave of the Lizard King, while they’re in Paris.
For such a popular site, one would think that the keepers of the cemetery proper would at least have the path to his grave site readily marked.
With plenty of signs pointing the hordes in the right direction.
But not the French.
Something about respect for the dead and all of that.
Frankly, WOEFULTOURIST doesn’t buy it.
Plus, he’s had his fill of over the top optimists and their claptrap philosophical views of life. You know rose colored glasses types who vomit up phrases like, – “Take the path less traveled on.” or, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.”
WOEFULTOURIST didn’t come to the cemetery to dawdle.
He came to pay his respects at Jim Morrison’s grave, then beat feet and go get some great French food for lunch, while sitting at an outside café and passing the afternoon partaking in that fine Parisian tradition of people watching.
Those cemetery people didn’t make it easy, but WOEFULTOURIST finally found the grave. He kissed the plastic lizard he had brought with him, tossed it onto the grave and was about to say a little prayer when he remembered what Jim had written so many years ago.
“You cannot petition the Lord with prayer!”
So WOEFULTOURIST didn’t even bother to try as he paid his respects, then quickly left the cemetery for more lively environs. And perhaps a very large bottle of wine.
Make that two – because people are strange, when you’re a stranger!