7 October 2015

Paris 2015: Jean-Dominique Bauby, Cimetière du Père-Lachaise #1

I've included a great number of graves in the past in the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise on my blog, but there are always some which have escaped me, which for instance I can't find, or more often which I didn't know of. There are also, of course, newer ones dug after a previous visit. I've no idea how many times I've visited the cemetery in total, although in the last four weeks  I went on four occasions. You can't really spend all day there as it's difficult to negotiate the cobbles and tree roots and your brain starts to go fuzzy after several hours, so it's best tackled in enthusiastic spurts of say two- or three-hour sessions. Last year spotting graves was greatly improved when a new leaflet was printed, which lists many more of them and gives their (approximate) locations. It's not without its faults, but it's a huge improvement on the earlier one and has been the source of a number of my findings this year. This particular grave took a lot of finding, but in the end we got there:

AVRIL 1952–MARS 1997'
Jean-Dominique Bauby is perhaps best known not for the book Le Scaphandre et le Papillon (1997), translated literally as The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and published just a few days before his death, but for Julian Schnabel's 2007 film of the same name. The story of his stroke, his coma from which he emerged with locked-in syndrome and dictated his memoir to Claude Mendibil with his only communicative organ – his left eyelid – is very well known. Bauby died in Berck (Pas-de-Calais) and was buried here in the family grave.

My other post, on Bauby's book:

Jean-Dominique Bauby: Le Scaphandre et le papillon | The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

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