MURDER MOST FOUL IN PARIS’S PЀRE-LACHAISE CEMETERY …

(UPDATE: SUNDAY, MAY 11 – At end of piece.) Each year about 1.5 million people visit Paris’s Père-Lachaise Cemetery. The majority of them, naturally, do not go there to attend a funeral, but to see the graves of the famous who lie buried there. People like French singer Edith Piaf; American writer Gertrude Stein and […]

Gertrude Stein & Alice B. Toklas' s grave in Pere Lachaise. Note: no roses.

Gertrude Stein & Alice B. Toklas’ s grave in Pere Lachaise.  (copyright marilynztomlins)

(UPDATE: SUNDAY, MAY 11 – At end of piece.)

Each year about 1.5 million people visit Paris’s Père-Lachaise Cemetery.

The majority of them, naturally, do not go there to attend a funeral, but to see the graves of the famous who lie buried there.

People like French singer Edith Piaf; American writer Gertrude Stein and her lover Alice B.Toklas; Isadora Duncan whose scarf got caught in the spikes of one of the wheels of the car she was a passenger in and which thus broke her neck; French writer Balzac; French artist Pisarro; French actor Yves Montand; Chopin the Polish composer; Max Ernst the German artist; Allan Kardec the French spiritualist whose grave is always covered in flowers; Oscar Wilde, someone having chiselled off his manhood, and that of Jim Morrison, singer of The Doors, his grave the most visited.

Gertrude and Alice - husband and wife: together in the same grave.

Gertrude and Alice – husband and wife: together in the same grave.

But of course these are just a handful of the approximate one million who lie buried there.

I often go for a walk through the cemetery, my camera at hand as I navigate my way along the very many alleys and between the graves. So I have written about the cemetery several times, and you can find some of what I’ve written on the links at the bottom. Do have a look.

For scattering ashes ... blowing in the wind ...

For scattering ashes … blowing in the wind … (copyright marilynztomlins)

My reason for writing about the cemetery again today is because of a foul murder which had been committed there.

On Wednesday afternoon a tourist came across the body of a man lying between two graves.
The police were quick to establish his identity: here in France we all have to carry some form of identity on our persons, but he was also known to those working in the cemetery.

The murdered man is named François Boudinot and he was 66 years of age when, as his injuries testified, someone beat him most savagely over his head: beat the life out of him.

As the police learnt, Monsieur Boudinot used to visit the cemetery regularly, even more than once every week. He used to walk around and then would sit down for a while. I can testify that many Parisians seek out the cemetery for its tranquillity. The lonely too seek it out because tourists are always asking for directions to a grave which gives them an opportunity to exchange a few words with another human being.

Monsieur Boudinot lived some 400 metres from the cemetery. His neighbours have told journalists that he was a lovely old guy (66!), always friendly and someone who had never caused any problems in the apartment building where he had lived for the past 22 years.

Quick were the police to have a suspect because two weeks ago the cemetery workers had to summon the police because a young man had become violent in the cemetery. No details have been given of what form his violence had taken, but the police would not have been summoned unless it was feared that he was going to harm someone.

The young man, identified only as Eric N was duly arrested at 8.30 pm in the apartment he shared with his father: the apartment, like that of Monsieur Boudinot, also close to the cemetery.

The police were in the apartment until two the following morning searching it and they left with blood-spattered clothing belonging to Eric N, as well as some other objects.

As Eric N’s neighbours are now telling journalists, they have often overheard arguments between him and his father and banging noises which made them believe that the son was violent towards the father.

Eric N, described as a rather big man, is unemployed. Or rather was unemployed because guilty of murder he will from now on be spending very many years behind the bars of a prison.

Père-Lachaise Cemetery, which dates from 1804, is in Paris’s 20th arrondissement (district) and it covers 44 hectares (110 acres) so I need not tell you that it is big.

Kardec's grave ... never without flowers ...

Kardec’s grave … never without flowers …

Do not allow me now to scare you off from visiting the cemetery, but I will tell you this: be careful. As I said at the beginning of this piece, I often go there and always, when I am in a particularly deserted part of the cemetery, I tell myself to get back to an area where there are other people. Living people that is.

I wrote about the cemetery here on 10.17.11

here on 07.03.11

here on 11.30.11

here on 11.01.10

 

The tomb of Baroness Stroganova -- the largest in the cemetery

The tomb of Baroness Stroganova — the largest in the cemetery (copyright marilynztomlins)

UPDATE: MAY 11 :

Eric N has been charged with murder – culpable homicide – and is incarcerated. He risks life imprisonment.

Marilyn Z. Tomlins

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Should you wish to contact me you can do so by email: marilyn@marilynztomlins.com