I’ve been to Paris so many times and visiting Jim Morrison’s gravesite has always been on the list. However, the timing never seemed quite right, I wanted some “alone time” with Jim, away from the daily tourist hoards that literally stop by his tomb for a quick moment, ticking the box.
I knew from previous visits to Paris that Parisians are quite relaxed on a Sunday, with many businesses closed and a general quiet atmosphere. Perfect. I set out for the famous Père Lachaise graveyard, which I must say even beats La Recoleta in Argentina for the most majestic graveyard I’ve ever been in. I hoped for a quiet morning alone with Jim.
With The Doors in my headphones, and armed with a $3.49 Père Lachaise app that would take me right to Jim’s grave I entered Père Lachaise Cemetary. Rainy and wet, I couldn’t see many people around which was perfect, glad I came early!
I follow the app map straight to where it says Jim is buried. I see nothing. Surely it wouldn’t be one of these plain gravesites, it would have a flower or two on it??!? Then I hear a truck behind me. I turn around.
In between the rows of gravestones I spot a flash of colour. There it is!! Wet feet in the sopping mud I cut through a few gravestones (sorry!) only to come to a gated off area.
I see the graveyard attendant from the truck hop out of the truck, open the gate and enter Jim’s tomb area. He picks up many empty glass bottles of Jack Daniels, dead flowers, and other random rubbish. I’m assuming Saturday night parties at Jim’s grave is a common thing…
“Can I come sit with Jim for a bit?” I ask the graveyard attendant. I’m really embarrassed at my lack of trying to speak French and obviously this dude spoke not a lick of English.
“No.” he says nicely and carries on cleaning and saying some other sentences I can’t comprehend.
A couple of minutes later I see him about to leave, he opens gate for me and says something to the effect “Quickly, because the guard is watching!”
Omg!! Thank you!!!!
I sit down with Jim, still listening to The Doors, asking him a few questions I had about life, music, etc. You can just feel the energy of the area, all the sadness of people who just wish it wasn’t so….all the people who came to pay tribute to one of the world’s greatest frontmen…telling him his rock and roll legacy still lives on.
I finish up at the site and the guard locks the gate again. Thank you guard dude, how divine was that timing!?! I smile to myself cause I know it’s true. I wished to be alone with Jim and I got my wish. Soon after I leave I see the tourists coming…just in time.
On a closing note and keeping with the theme of “musical greats”, I pass Frederic Chopin’s tomb and say hello. I still remember the day my grade 6 music teacher Mr. Roman Churko told us his life story. Always have loved and been intrigued by his music. He still motivates me to play piano even to this day!
Now, off for a bit of petit dèjeuner, man the French know how to do food!
By Cynthia Gregoire