I’m Potterhead. Even though I’ve grown a bit too busy and a bit too old to be as involved in the Harry Potter fantasy universe like I once was, I still won’t miss anything in the franchise. However, I had missed out on watching Fantastic Beasts: the Crimes of Grindelwald for the longest time ever. I’m not particularly proud of that but I just didn’t find the first Fantastic Beasts gripping enough. It fed my nostalgia but didn’t pique much interest. Which basically made me delay this second and much more amazing part. Yes! I love it! Especially the climax at Père Lachaise Cemetery.
Agreed, it’s something to do with it having the Paris scenes but I since love the concepts of horrors & the eeries around the cemeteries (totally not in a psychopath way), the climax became my favorite. Lucky for me, I could go to Père Lachaise cemetery at my whim since it’s in my current city. So, that’s exactly what I did. I was absolutely taken by the grandeur of this magnificent place which is what prompted me to write about it in this blog.
Harry Potter Trivia: In 1927, Gellert Grindelwald held a rally here deep in the Lestrange family Mausoleum. The cemetery was nearly destroyed after Grindelwald set loose magical flames. They were only contained by the combined efforts of Nicolas Flamel, Porpentina Goldstein, Yusuf Kama, and Theseus and Newton Scamander.
Appropriate to say that while Harry Potter made me go to Père Lachaise Cemetery but I came back with a lot more.
9 Facts to know:
1. Also known as the “cemetery of the East”, Père-Lachaise cemetery is the largest cemetery in Paris with 43 hectares of land.
2. The cemetery takes its name from the confessor to Louis XIV, Père François de la Chaise (1624–1709). He lived in the Jesuit house rebuilt during 1682 on the site of the chapel.
3. Newly proclaimed emperor by the Senate three days earlier, Napoleon inaugurated the cemetery in 1624. This with the declaration that “Every citizen has the right to be buried regardless of race or religion”.
4. Since the cemetery is located far from the city center & was also not blessed by the church, it had to device a proper ‘marketing strategy’ of housing famous personalities’ graves to attract funerals.
5. These spectacles started in 1804, with transfer of remains of famous French poets Jean de La Fontaine and Molière. This was followed by the purported remains of Pierre Abélard and Héloïse d’Argenteuil in 1817 (along with their single’s crypt).
6. The Communards’ Wall (Mur des Fédérés), located within the cemetery, was the site where 147 Communards, the last defenders of the workers’ district of Belleville, were shot on May 28, 1871, or the last of the “Bloody Week” (Semaine Sanglante).
7. Today, the site is a traditional rallying point for members of the French political Left. Ironically, Adolphe Thiers, the French president who directed “Bloody Week,” is also interred in the cemetery. His tomb has occasionally been subject to vandalism.
8. The cemetery accounts over 1 million graves. And it hosts over 3 million visitors from around the world visit it every year.
9. Continuing the tradition of housing famous personalities, Père-Lachaise cemetery has everyone from artists, musicians and singers (Frédéric Chopin, Rossini, Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, Alain Bashung …) to writers (Molière, Balzac, Colette, Marcel Proust, Jean de la Fontaine, Oscar Wilde …), statesmen, soldiers, historians, and so on.
Paris is not only celebrated for being the city of lights and romance but also for its old, historic legends, mysterious stories, and dark sites. The Père-Lachaise cemetery and of course, the Paris catacombs are the epitome of what all hide under the belly of this beautiful, multi-faceted city.
Share your experiences of Père-Lachaise cemetery & if you think I may have missed out on something in the comment section below.
For more of my travel in style adventures, keep following ERTSY. Till then, keep exploring x