Saturday, July 21, 2012

palais lachaise


In July of 2012, one
Historic Preservation student 
disappeared unexpectedly in the 
Palais Lachaise cemetery, 
while studying Urban Planning.

A week later she blogged about it.*

I prefer gloomy days. For one, overcast days are the best natural glamor lighting. In the right situations, cloud-cover can enhance the drama of any environment. So with cloud cover, light rain, the cawing of crows on crosses, a crisp breeze, and the date being Friday the 13th, I entered the famous Palais Lachaise cemetery. 

Built in 1804, the Palais Lachaise cemetery influenced the future designs of American cemeteries. Unique to France is the utilization of the "stacked" grave. With a stacked grave, more than one coffin can be placed in a burial plot. This is highly different than burial practices in the United States, where one coffin equates to one burial plot. In addition, headstones are not the marker of choice for burials in France. Small buildings and stone slabs built over the graves populate the Palais Lachaise cemetery. Each have unique architectural design and ornamental motifs. Upside down torches, skeletons, time turners, and broken columns all chronicle the passage of time and indicate loss of life.

A friend with bright green eyes peered up at me from behind the headstone. Her black fur bristled with anxiety, and her ears lay flat against her skull. The irony. 

* As an aside, I actually did get separated from the group in the cemetery. I'm smarter than those "A level media students". I just stayed put and ate Kinder Bueno.

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