Pilgrimage to Père Lachaise


There's a cemetery in Paris's 20th arrondissement called Père Lachaise. It's famous for being the first garden burial site in the world, and is the final resting place of many revered inhabitants, including Oscar Wilde, Édith Piaf, Georges Méliès, Balzac, Chopin, Proust and Jim Morrison. It's an idillic, sprawling setting of rock and shade.


"The sculpture has a very noticeable protuberance in Noir's trousers. This has made it one of the most popular memorials for women to visit in the famous cemetery. Myth says that placing a flower in the upturned top hat after kissing the statue on the lips and rubbing its genital area will enhance fertility, bring a blissful sex life, or, in some versions, a husband within the year. As a result of the legend, those particular components of the otherwise verdigris (grey-green oxidized bronze) statue are rather well-worn and shiny.

Sasha wanted to go to the cemetery, partly because she used to be goth and just likes cemeteries (lol) but more specifically to visit the grave of slain journalist Victor Noir, whose tomb has developed a cult following, one could say. So we spent a Parisian Saturday in May on a pilgrimage of sorts, to this place.

Victor Noir was shot dead in 1869 by the cousin of then-ruling emporer Napoleon III in a spat over pride, originating in political grievances. The man was celebrated as a hero of the French Republicans, but is known today instead as a symbol of fertility and sex.  To quote Wikipedia:

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I also wanted to visit the tomb of Oscar Wilde, since he has always represented to me free expression at its most jubilant, in the face of an unjust society. (He was convicted of indecency for his homosexuality, which led to a dark turn in his work.) This grave is also marked by loving lips.