Today I decide to head to the cemetery. Not just any cemetery, but Père
Lachaise, final resting place of the world’s actors, writers and celebrities. I get off the Metro at Philippe Auguste (ligne numero deux), and find myself in the 20th arrondissement. First impressions – I like it here. Perhaps it is because it is quiet (Paris is a big, noisy, hustling and bustling city). Perhaps because it is peaceful, or maybe because the graves and crypts are so lovingly constructed - architectural creativity has not been curbed, despite the melancholy subject matter. First stop – Jim Morrison.
Next stop – Chopin. Couldn’t find it, as it is being renovated (this cemetery is apparently the most visited in the world, so periodically certain high-traffic graves are gated off for maintenance.) Final stop, and the reason for today’s visit is to find Oscar Wilde, probably my favourite writer. His tomb is adorned with a modernist angel leaning forward, as if in a ‘kissing position’. The ubiquitous annoying American tourists meant that this is only photo I took of it:
Next on my touristy intinerary was the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF). In a word – meh. Sit in the park for a sec, before heading home and having dinner in the Madagascan restaurant located on the ground floor of my building.
Thurs 7th of July, 2010
As far as architecture goes, churches have it goin’ on. And so today I decide to make a pilgrimage to Sacré-Cœur Basilica. It is located in Montmartre, a hop, skip and jump from my apartment in the 10th. On the way I pass through, well, the ghetto. There are so many ‘street vendors’ (hustlers) who tout their wares to you as you pass – sunglasses, bottles of water, cigarettes, magazines. Firm shakes of the head let them know what’s up. The Basilica is the highest point in the city, so onward and upward I walk. Upon reaching the summit, you are afforded a glorious view of the city.
The Basilica does not allow photography or mobile phones inside, which is a shame as it is a really ornately constructed monument (despite this, a few snarky buggers sneak a few pics, which pisses me off no end). After a quick rest, I make my way down to see what else this district has to offer. About 15 minutes I am now in the Pigalle district, known for its more risqué and erotic overtones. Irony abounds in the fact Church and everything holy resides next to the red-light district (seriously, the street is just full of sex shops). Oh look, there’s the Moulin Rouge!
Then its home time, to make the place look presentable for Tina’s arrival this afternoon. We celebrated a bit.
Tomorrow will be a pleasure to show her ‘my town’, and find other treasures this city has within its walls.