Thursday, June 29, 2006

Looking for Jim Morrison (Pere Lachaise Cemetary, Paris)

OK. The last time I was in Paris, it was 1977. I was only a few years out of my Super Nerd stage and spent all my time in Paris in its many museums. The Cluny, L'Orangerie, of course, the Louvre... I couldn't remember if I'd visited Sainte Chappelle and it was so highly recommended by B that we couldn't pass it up, so after a few false starts (and one in which we got turned away -- I guess they were too close to closing) we finally went on our last day in Paris before leaving for Montreux.

It was magnificent. It made you want to drop some acid.

And on that thought...we walked from the chapel of kaleidoscopes, to Bastille, up and down the canal examining houseboats, up a busy street (Rue de Roquette, or Rocket Road, as I called it) to the most Famous Cemetery in All of Paris -- Pere Lachaise, or the Eternal Home of Jim Morrison.

It was one of my "must do" items.

I'd been spotting Jim in various spots in Paris. Near Sacre Coeur, along the Seine... Luckily, we got to the cemetery a few minutes before closing time. At the gate is a large map that points out the grave sites of its many famous dead residents. Oscar Wilde...Mouliere...dozens of others...and of course, James Douglas Morrison.

I quickly copied down the pertinent info in my notebook and made our way to sector 5.
Once there, we didn't have to wander down every single headstone because there was a bit of a commotion. Yes. James' place is the only one with contant tourists, and this afternoon was no different.

Middle aged men and women, a pack of young, purple-haired Americans, and a guard telling us "two more minutes and we close the place" around a simple headstone. Apparently a statue once stood here but was stolen. I quickly shot a couple of snaps before the guard started shooing us away.

"What happened to the 'deux' minutes?" complained Big Dog.
"I guess he's afraid fans will stay all night."
"So? If they really wanted to, they could hide in someone's crypt until they shut the gates."

None of us there were smart/foolish enough to do that, so we were herded away like sheep. It brought out the wolf in Big Dog.

"What the hell are you guys doing here? You weren't even born when the Doors were around!" (The new Jim-less Doors is not The Doors for Big Dog.) "I know why I'm here. I was there at the Roxy when they were playing Los Angeles. But you guys?"
"We like the old music."
"Ha! It's the ONLY music. You poor suckers. Your generation only has hip hop shit. That's not music! WE had all the great MUSIC!"

He was getting too excited and wanting to hang out all night in the cemetery. But it was past closing time and security began buzzing up and down the lanes on little scooters rounding up any lost sheep. I think one of the guys on the scooters was Jim, himself.

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