Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Vacation: Paris, Day 4

Paris, Day 4

On the fourth day of Paris, my true love gave to me... a day without him, because he went to Normandy with Pete and Steve. So I went to Pere Lachaise (a huge, famous cemetery). The only requirement for interment in Pere Lachaise is to have lived in Paris at some point, so a lot of famous non-French are buried there, like Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison.

There is a large section in one corner of the cemetery full of monuments to
those who died in concentration camps at the hands of the Nazis. Each camp has
its own monument; this one is for Auschwitz. Most of these have ashes from the
incinerators at those camps somewhere inside the monument.


A semi-crazy tour guide without a group led me around and showed me
this gravestone from the back first, and asked me to guess whose it was.
It's a large plot (very large for Pere Lachaise) but only has the one simple stone,
and small stone pillars to mark off the edges of the plot. It's Bugatti (the car guy)
and 21 members of his family. Despite his wealth, he wanted a simple grave
he could share with his loved ones.

This (I learned while naming my photo files, because I didn't know the French word
for it on the map) is a columbarium. It's where ashes are housed in urns or...
those things in the wall that I don't know what they're called.

Speaking of, here are some of those things in the wall.
I know, I'm like a four-year-old, but I couldn't not take a photo
of the one with the last name "Fucker." It just caught my eye.

My favorite memorial statue in the entire cemetery...
and I can't remember who it was for. I think it was either a general
one for all the concentration camps of the Holocaust, or for one specific one.

The Mur des Federes: in May 1871, 147 federes (French resistants) fought
all night in the cemetery, and in the morning, those who remained were
lined up on this wall, shot, and buried where they fell.

Edith Piaf
(Out of 7 days in Paris, there was only one where I didn't hear someone
else singing/humming/playing "La Vie En Rose")

Proust was kind of hard to find from the path, but I did it!

Oscar Wilde, naturally. I overheard a French tour group where the guide told them
this is scandaleuse or at least it was when it was built, but I didn't entirely understand
the reason she gave. (I didn't have the patience to wait around for an English group.)

A memorial to those who died for France in WWI
After the boys returned from Normandy (I'll get photos from Birk and make another post for you) Birk and I went around the corner to dinner at Le Chinon.

The chalkboard-painted sign outside

Dinner (chicken with creamy mushroom sauce for me,
duck confit with pepper sauce for Birk)
Interesting fact about France (and probably several other European countries): waiters are TOTALLY DIFFERENT. You have to flag them down if you want anything, whereas in America, they come by to check on you every few minutes. I've determined that it's because they're just more laidback there. They don't rush through meals so they can get back to other things; the meal is a thing they're doing, and they aren't going to hurry it. Also, waiters there are paid an actual living wage, so they don't rely on tips to survive. While we understood the reasons for the differences, and they made perfect sense, the biggest thing we missed from home that we agreed on (besides Gimli) was definitely how waiters behave. So the first thing we did on our first day back (after unpacking, starting laundry, showering, etc) was go to a restaurant (and leave a big tip).

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