Category Archives: Père-Lachaise cemetery

Emotions evaporate, granite remains

Grave of the victualler at Strasbourg

Grave at Père-Lachaise of a Strasbourg victualler (presumably to the imperial armies)

Ottoman romance

Will future generations, asks Dalrymple, 'ever find our age, or anything else, as romantic as we now find fin de siècle Turkey?'

Will future generations, asks Dalrymple, ‘ever find our age, or anything else, as romantic as we now find fin-de-siècle Turkey?’

Postcards from Père-Lachaise

Screen Shot 2015-03-21 at 21.19.58 Screen Shot 2015-03-21 at 21.15.30

Azar Derakhshan: 'an Iranian refugee in France, she was a member of the anti-lapidation committee. I did wonder whether there existed a pro-lapidation committee, and whether indeed it existence would be permitted'

Azar Derakhshan: ‘An Iranian refugee in France, she was a member of the anti-lapidation committee. I did wonder whether there existed a pro-lapidation committee, and whether indeed it existence would be permitted.’ Probably it would, out of delicacy or cultural sensitivity

Mahmoud Al Hamchari: born in Um Khaled, Palestine, on 29 August 1939, killed in Paris 9 February 1973 while representing the PLO. 'He was blown up by an Israeli bomb in his Parisian flat: the Israelis believed he was the head of Black September in France and had participated in the planning of the attack on the Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics'

Mahmoud Al Hamchari: ‘blown up by an Israeli bomb in his flat: the Israelis believed he was head of Black September in France and had participated in the planning of the attack on the Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics’

Serovpé Mkhitarian: 'born in Van, in Ottoman Turkey, and (I surmise) escaped the genocide in 1915'

Serovpé Mkhitarian: ‘born in Van, in Ottoman Turkey, and (I surmise) escaped the genocide in 1915’

Laurent Monnet, Négotiant: 'he died in 1899, one imagines of a heart attack after or  during a too-copious and self-indulgent dinner. The paths of profit lead but to the grave'

Laurent Monnet: ‘died in 1899, one imagines of a heart attack after or during a too copious and self-indulgent dinner. The paths of profit lead but to the grave’

À notre cher fils

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 00.20.39

Père-Lachaise

Albert Rapilly

Lieutt 10e génie détaché à l’escadrille SPAD 278

1893-1918

Mort au champ d’honneur le 29 juillet 1918 au Grand-Rozoy (Aisne)

The simple inscription, as Dalrymple points out,

conveys the pain of the parents more eloquently than a more florid one would have done.

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 00.26.02

Père-Lachaise

Grand-Rozoy (Aisne): 'Avec son pilote Adolphe Cabouillet' — 'Éternels regrets!'

Grand-Rozoy (Aisne): ‘Avec son pilote Adolphe Cabouillet’ — ‘Éternels regrets!’

Closing the stable door after the prude has hammered

Before and after: Epstein’s Wilde tomb at Père-Lachaise is, writes Dalrymple, an 'aesthetic abomination'. He points out that 'an Englishwoman, outraged by the sight of the carved figure’s genitals, destroyed them with a hammer,  confirming the French view of the English as a nation of hypocritical and unsophisticated prudes and puritans'. The tomb is now protected 'by screens of what looks like bullet-proof glass'

Before and after: Epstein’s 1914 Wilde tomb at Père-Lachaise is, writes Dalrymple, his worst work — an ‘aesthetic abomination’. Dalrymple’s French guide claims that an Englishwoman, ‘outraged by the sight of the carved figure’s genitals, destroyed them with a hammer, confirming the French view of the English as a nation of hypocritical and unsophisticated prudes and puritans’. The tomb is now protected ‘by screens of what looks like bullet-proof glass’. The act of testicular vandalism seems to have been perpetrated in 1961

To gravely go

Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 07.53.42Cemeteries: antidote to self-importance

Dalrymple likes to enter graveyards

and linger awhile. I have been like this since my adolescence. Meditation on the transience of life, intermittent rather than continuous and rejuvenating rather than paralysing, is important for achieving equanimity.

When in Paris he always stays within a stone’s throw of Père-Lachaise. He likes to wander there at random among the 65,000 graves, seeking out no-one in particular, including the tombs of the never-heard-of and of the once-heard-of-now-forgotten.

It would almost be a pleasure to reside there permanently, were it not for the rather stringent residence qualifications.

Ironie assez macabre

Alexandre Stavisky

‘La tombe de Stavisky [pictured] se trouve dos-à-dos avec celle d’Édouard Drumont, l’un des plus féroces antisémites français,’ explains the Cimetières de France et d’ailleurs website

Père-Lachaise perambulation

Alphonse Bertillon's grave was 'neglected and overgrown with moss'...

The grave of Alphonse Bertillon ‘was neglected and overgrown with moss’