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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Paris

Tuesday, September 25

Jonathan woke up extremely early to take the train back to Stuttgart to catch a plane back to Atlanta. I went down to meet others for breakfast at 6:30 am, then retreated back upstairs to catch a few more hours of sleep before flying to Paris.

Where we had warm, sunny weather the whole time we had been in Munich, Tuesday was rainy and cold. A great day to pack up and leave!

I got to Paris and headed into town. I stayed at a very nice hotel, the Radisson SAS Champs-Elysées, on Avenue Marceau. I could see the Arc de Triomphe from my window.



I was cold and wet from walking from the station and trying to find the hotel, so a hot shower was in order. That evening, I strolled the Marais, and checked in on some of my favorite Paris bars before returning to the hotel.

Wednesday, September 26

After waking up and having un grand croissant chocolat et café, I decided that I would tour Paris’ famous cemetery, Père-Lachaise. I had read much about this final resting place of so many famous people, and had determined after seeing Julie Delpy’s film Two Days in Paris that I would visit it.







I took the number 3 line to Gambetta station, which is enters the cemetery near the rear, the highest point in the 118 acre cemetery, not far from the tomb of Oscar Wilde. From there, I made my way to the grave of Edith Piaf, along the way, passing many tombs of those killed in the Holocaust, as well as those killed during the end of the Paris Commune. After Edith Piaf, I found the tom of Marcel Proust, then Honoré de Balzac. Then I found the grave of The Doors’ singer Jim Morrison. Here are pictures of their final resting places:






Oscar Wilde:







Edith Piaf:





Marcel Proust:




Honoré de Balzac:






Jim Morrison:

Moliere:



Earlier, I had seen the beginnings of a gathering near a funeral tent. I noticed a few TV cameras, but there was not a sizeable crowd gathered. Returning towards that area, more people had crowded around the tent. I asked a guard whose funeral it was, and she replied, “Marcel Marceau.”


The funeral was just about to begin, so I stayed to listen. The former head Rabbi of France, René-Samuel Sirat led the ceremony. By this point, it was raining, and a cold wind was blowing. I could understand some of the French and very little of the Hebrew. After the Rabbi spoke, there were some prayers, and then music, which I discovered later was the cellist Roland Pidoux playing Bach’s Sarabande. Then, the coffin was lifted, taken right by where I was standing, to be interred. I couldn’t believe I had stumbled unto the funeral of Marcel Marceau.















Before leaving, I found the tomb of Molière, then returned to the hotel, grabbed a sandwich, and checked some emails. After dark, I once again headed out to the Marais and Les Halles, grabbing some street food along the way. Before going back to the hotel, I walked past Hotel de Ville towards the Seine, to a point where I could see Notre Dame and Hotel De Ville and enjoy the beauty of the lights and the river… one of my favorite places in the world.

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