13 September 2016 – Paris
Day 7. We went to Notre Dame first, thinking to climb the towers and admire the grotesques, but at opening time the guard estimated the line was already 45 minutes long – and to the unpracticed eye it certainly looked longer. So we decided to head to Père-Lachaise Cemetery (on which more anon) via the Île-Saint-Louis. Naturally we stopped in at the 17th-century church of Saint-Louis-en-l’Île to console ourselves for missing the opportunity of waiting in line. Something we noticed here, as we noticed too in the cathedral, is the sense of the church as a house or home, shaped by its daily habits and subject to all the economies housekeeping entails. One feels the immense amount of time and attention that have gone and still will go into these buildings. And as with any home, the grandest are not always the most pleasant to visit (cf. Sacré-Cœur).
Guy reminded us about Père-Lachaise cemetery this morning. Jim Morrison, you know, and also Oscar Wilde. And also Balzac, Proust, Georges Perec, and many, many more. Tired by a longer walk then we had expected, we failed to find the grave of Molière, whose reburial in the cemetery in 1804 was a marketing ploy to get more people to buy plots. We were more successful in finding Gertrude Stein & Alice B. Toklas.
Play fairly well.
As or as presently.
Let me recite what history teaches. History teaches.