Monday, 25 February 2013

Day 53 - Père Lachaise

22nd February 2013

I got a much later start today. I woke up to a message from Nichola, cursing the snow. The snow?! A look out the window proved her to be speaking the truth, there was a dusting. Aw. It was very very cold, and I was very very comfy. I took the opportunity to have a snuggled read in bed before a shower and heading out for another random wander. Nich had sent me in the direction of an apparently fun shop, but I managed to miss it entirely. I walked for about an hour, spotting a chocolate museum I thought I might convince Nich to come to with me the next day, and eventually stopped for a lovely pizza. Discovery of the holiday is that I really don't mind eating by myself, I got some lovely seats and some wonderful reading time. 

After lunch I decided to go to the Champs-Élysées and amble. It was sleeting on and off all day, so I spent a lot of time popping into shops for brief respite from the chill. 

Can't resist a picture of the Arc. Or a jumping tourist.

I stopped in the Häagen-Dazs café for a lovely warm up. A Dulce de Leche espressio with a warm waffle with praline & cream ice cream and Dulce de Leche ice cream. It was all too delicious. I left to further sleet and a bitterly cold wind, and decided to head homeward.

Once I arrived back at Père Lachaise the cold wasn't quite so biting, so I decided that today I would have a proper investigate into this wonderful place. 

Of course, the first place I headed to was Oscar Wilde's grave. It has been cleaned of its kisses which I feel is a little sad, but the glass box and barriers sadden me further. I know that it's in the family's wishes, but still.

There are so many beautiful sights in the cemetery, I could have taken so many more pictures. It's such a strange place, so odd to see such huge memorials, and such old memorials. I wished I'd brought my drawing things with me, first thing I thought when I saw the sculpture for today's picture was that I wanted to draw it.

This was a lovely little grave, understated, and tucked away in the corner behind much larger ones. There were pictures of the two women, together and separate, I imagine they were grandparent and grandchild. I wonder whether this was a sad coincidence or a much sadder tragedy. It was beautiful and colourful and in such a pretty spot. I hope Juliette and Germaine approve.

I found myself walking along a path overlooking graves but with none immediately on it. It was here that I nodded a 'Bonsoir' to a gentlemen walking past and suddenly found myself in a (stilted) french conversation about the cemetery, it's beauty, Oscar Wilde and how to get out. My french is not exactly bad, but it's only good when I have time to think about it, i.e. not in a conversation with a real live french person who doesn't speak english. I think I did well. I carried on a little further, and during a pause to look out at the view heard this little fella above rustling around making a nest. I stayed watching him for ages, so I felt he deserved a mention.

I loved seeing the really old graves with new flowers placed on them. I imagine some were significant people of their era, but I prefer the notion that someone felt they deserved to be remembered that day.

After heading back to the flat and changing, Nich and I headed out again for dinner. She took me to a wonderful fondue place in Montmartre, where wine is served in baby bottles (something to do with a tax on glasses) and you have to climb over the table to sit half the people down. It was a fun evening, meeting some of Nich's friends and some of their friends!

Fondue consumed, we were led to a place called the People's Drugstore, where they have a huge array of beers and an insta-cooler. You choose your beer and they cool it for you there and then. I can't remember exactly what I had, but it involved cardamon. It was here that we met our first new best friends of the night, Nicolas and Victoire. They were fun. They introduced us to their friend Antoine, who took us to another bar where we met another best friend, Caroline. Caroline was fun also, and introduced us to her friend Bruno. We took them another place where we met yet more best friends, but I don't remember their names.

After a very fun evening Nich and I headed home. Where it became not fun. Not at all.



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