|Bare trees framed in a broken stained glass window|
While mourning the shootings and bombings in Paris this evening I went back in to my picture files to a gallery of images I took at the Père Lachaise Cemetery in December of 2012, on my first trip to the French capital. This was the first municipal and first garden cemetery in the city. It was established by Napoleon in 1804. Napoleon decreed that cemeteries be built in cities throughout his empire for health reasons as the old city cemeteries filled up. During plagues and epidemics the bodies of the dead were often piled in public squares for lack of a place to put them. These cemeteries outside the cities greatly reduced the outbreak of epidemics.
|City of the Dead|
|A lavish bouquet carved in marble|
Being a garden cemetery gives Père Lachaice the look of a village of the dead in a forest. It is extraordinary for its ambience and monumental architecture, making it one of the greatest cemeteries in the world. It seemed poignant today to revisit this touchingly macabre landscape, with its depictions of life lost and taken away. While there is an overlying sadness, sorrow cohabitates with strange beauty and profound peace.
There are more than 1,000,000 bodies buried here, and thousands more in the Columbarium, where ashes are interred.
Here lies a gallery of my favorite images from that afternoon at Père Lachaise.
|The grave of French painter Thèodore Gèricault|
|The gates of Sorrow|
|City of the Dead|
|French sculptor Jean Joseph Carriès|
|The Belgian writer and poet Georges Rodenbach, breaking out of his grave|
|Jim Morrison's grave|
|A mossy cross|
|A new arrival|
|Porcelain Pansies are a popular tradition|
|Bird in a Cherry Tree growing from a rock|
|Monument to the Dead by sculptor Bartholomeè|
|The stained glass window inside the above crypt|
|The grave of Oscar Wilde|
|Communing with the departed|
Thanks for reading, Rest in Peace, Jeffrey
|A mosaic I built several years ago…what the World needs now|