Day Eight

A few American writers have chosen to be buried in Paris, and the cemetery that is their last home is the famous cimetière du Père-Lachaise.  Take the métro stop of that name and get a map of this large and agreeable location at the gate.  You will have no trouble finding the grave of  Jim Morrison (division 6), a very popular tourist attraction for both Americans and Europeans.  Unfortunately, one reason you will have little trouble finding it is that many other grave markers are covered with graffiti pointing the way.  There is usually a small group of admirers camped out on the site.  Following the smell of marijuana is another way of finding his grave.

Also buried in Père-Lachaise are Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, and Richard Wright.  Wandering the shaded lanes, petting the numerous cats that also inhabit the cemetery, and watching the visitors makes the excursion an interesting and pleasant one.  (It's also worth visiting the impressive marker at Oscar Wilde's grave.)  Stein and Toklas are buried together in division 97 at the far side of the cemetery.  A common stone marks their graves: Stein's name is on the front, Toklas's on the back.

Not far away (division 87) is the Columbarium where those who were cremated are inurned.  In the southeast corner of the four L-shaped buildings is #848, the final resting place of Richard Wright.

One last place doesn't fit very neatly into the tour.  Like many black Americans,  Langston Hughes also spent time in Paris.  During most of 1924, he lived at 15, rue de Nollet--an address quite off the regular path.  Take the métro Place de Clichy.  The first right upon exiting is the small rue Biot.  At the end of the block, turn left on the rue des Dames and then after a few steps turn right onto the rue Nollet, where you can see the residence that contained his apartment.

 back  home

A valuable resource for further information, not only about writers, but also about politicians, entertainers, and other important Americans who have lived in Paris is Brian N. Morton's Americans in Paris: An Anecdotal Street Guide.  Ann Arbor: The Olivia & Hill Press, 1984.