Photographer's Note

This is one of my older photos, taken in the year 2000, which I scanned from a photo album the other day, so the quality isn't great; it's a bit more grainy than I would like. It was taken at the incomparable Pere Lachaise cemetery, home to many famous graves, but there are many graves of common Parisians here as well. I have no idea where this particular sculpture is located, as the site is an absolute labyrinth, but part of the fun in visiting here is just to get a little lost, wandering among the tombs, and photographing those which speak to you somehow. I often wonder when looking at this photo whether the mother, or infant, or both, died in childbirth, which was very common in the nineteenth century. The piece conveys both comfort and the grief of loss to me.

This famous cemetery, one of the most well-known in the world, serves as the last resting place of many celebrities, including Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde and Chopin. Previously a hospice for members of the Jesuit order, the cemetery was named for Pere Francois de la Chaise, the confessor of Louis XIV, who lived in the Jesuit house rebuilt in 1682 on the site of the chapel. It was opened officially in 1804 when the land was purchased by the city and was put to use as a cemetery in the 18th century, as the Paris government was looking to clear out old cemeteries located elsewhere in the city over fear of epidemics (sanitation conditions had reached an all-time low; in some places, bodies were literally spilling out of their graves onto city streets). Some were relocated to the Paris catacombs or abandoned quarries, but others (particularly those from the 5th, 7th and 8th arrondissements) were reinterred here. If you want to be interred here nowadays, you have to have been born or have died in Paris. It's one of the city's most popular attractions: there are over 70,000 plots and some 2 million visitors a year pass through. The cemetery is the final resting place of an estimated 300,000 people, and many thousands more in the columbarium, used to house cremated remains. It is also the largest "park" in Paris, at 44 hectares (118 acres). If you want to visit, the closest metro station is Philippe Auguste on line 2, which is right near the main entrance; another station (Pere Lachaise) on lines 2 or 3 are also located nearby but have a side entrance. The tomb of Oscar Wilde is near the Gambetta station on line 3.

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Photo Information
  • Copyright: Terez Anon (terez93) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 92 W: 78 N: 1276] (2193)
  • Genre: Places
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2000-08-00
  • Categories: Artwork
  • Photo Version: Original Version
  • Date Submitted: 2018-08-26 17:24
Viewed: 444
Points: 2
  • None
Additional Photos by Terez Anon (terez93) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 92 W: 78 N: 1276] (2193)
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