Photo Diary: Père Lachaise Cemetery

In the 20th arrondissement of Paris you can find the world’s most visited cemetery, Père Lachaise. It opened in 1804 and it’s the largest cemetery in the city of Paris (44 hectares or 110 acres). It is also the site of three World War I memorials.

We visited Père Lachaise on a cloudy February morning with our wonderful couchsurfing host and another guest he was hosting. We must have been there for around 3-4 hours, just getting lost. While seeing the grave of Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison is a must, this is a serene place steeped in art and history, interesting even if you don’t seek celebrities. Other notables buried here are composer Chopin, playwright Molière, poet Apollinaire, writers Balzac, Proust, Gertrude Stein and Colette, painters Pissarro, Seurat, Modigliani and Delacroix and chanteuse Édith Piaf.

Before skipping to photos, I’d like to talk the name of the cemetery. It’s taken from the confessor to Louis XIV, Père François de la Chaise (1624–1709), who lived in the Jesuit house rebuilt in 1682 on the site of the chapel. The property, situated on the hillside from which the king watched skirmishing between the Condé and Turenne during the Fronde, was bought by the city in 1804. Established by Napoleon in this year, the cemetery was laid out by Alexandre-Théodore Brongniart and later extended. Short history lesson over.

Let me take you around now.

Photo Diary: Père Lachaise Cemetery | The Cheerful Wanderer

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Dream job


I just want to give you some updates on my life and what I’ve been up to. I’m going to post rarer this March because I’m currently in Ireland, doing my dream job. I’ll be here for the whole month working at the guesthouse and a hostel. To get here, I had to fly twice and then take two buses. Sleeping at the airport is not something I’m unfamiliar with, but this time I had a worse experience than I did before. I kept waking up every half hour, Italians were loudly chatting on my right side and a some guy tried to fall asleep on me. Literally. He only put his lower part of the body over my lower part of the body. I understand he wanted to spend the night on seats instead of floor, but seriously? I was honestly too tired to fight, at 3am I just gave up and went through the security check. My morning flight was lovely, though.

English countryside by The Cheerful Wanderer

English countryside shot at my 6am flight from Stansted.

Today was my second day. I’m so excited, every minute here feels like living my dreams. There are lovely people I hang out with all the time, my boss is very fair, the town is cute… Feel like a better version of home, if this makes any sense. I’m happy. Yesterday I had a nice talk with one of my roommates about hostels in Portugal, another country I’m very eager to visit. Who knows, maybe I’ll go there next. Right now I feel like I’m exactly where I belong.

My work depends on what hour I start and how busy that day is. Today for example we had plently of check outs, but since I started at 7am, I first had to prepare breakfast (I learnt how to cook Irish breakfast!), do the laundry, clean some dishes, tidy around the kitchen and do two rooms. Yesterday I was mainly cleaning. The rooms, kitchen, bathrooms. The best part are evenings, when we all gather and prepare some dinner. Last night we decided to go to an Irish pub after – it was so much fun!

That’s it for today, I’ll be posting more in the next few days, if my schedule allows me.

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The best free views (of Eiffel Tower and more) in Paris

Who doesn’t love a great shot of the Eiffel tower while in Paris? Preferably somewhere not crowded, so you don’t have to move all the time to capture the moment. In this post I’m talking the less known spots for photographing Sacré-Cœur, Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. Most of those were empty when we were there.

1. Printemps Department Store

They offer a wide variety of products, mostly well-known brands, so if you’re on a budget, this is not where you do your shopping. The building is beautiful, inside and out, and although the series of escalators can get a bit confusing, it’s very much worth visting. On 9th floor there’s a restaurant and a rooftop terrace with free access to the public, offering the most spectacular view over the surrounding Paris skyline. On left side of the unimpeded 360 degree view you have Pantheon, Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe, while on the right side Sacré-Cœur stands out in all its beauty among the typical tin roofs of Paris. If you wish to grab a snack, I was told that the food here is very tasty and cheap. However, there is no requirement or expectation that you must buy anything to visit the terrace.

The best free views (of Eiffel Tower and more) in Paris  | The Cheerful Wanderer

Address: 64 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009 Paris
Metro: Havre-Caumartin (line 3 and 9)*
Opening hours: Closed on Sundays, Thursdays from 9:30am to 9pm, other days from 9:30am to 8pm

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Road trip through Norway – Part 4

This diary was originally written in July 2014. This is the last part describing the roadtrip across one of the greenest countries in the world, Norway.

Previous parts: 1 | 2 | 3

Around 40 hours left in the country – this time our final destination was Rygge airport. I must admit I truly enjoyed the road from Hornindal to Oslo, everything is either green or yellow – so bright and lovely!

When in Norway, you must not miss ski jumping hills. So first stop: Lillehammer. A cute city, where we grabbed something to eat and drove to the ski jump at Lysgårdsbakkene. This ski jumping hill consists of a large hill and a small hill, as you can see in the photo. It opened in 1993 for the 1994 Winter Olympics, where it hosted the ski jumping and Nordic combined events, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies. After the Olympics, ownership was transferred to the municipal Lillehammer Olympiapark and it has since been used for several FIS Ski Jumping World Cup and FIS Nordic Combined World Cup tournaments, including hosting the Nordic Tournament. It has a capacity for 35,000 spectators and is one of three national ski jumping hills in Norway.

Visiting Norway - Part 4 | The Cheerful Wanderer

Next place on the list was Holmenkollbakken in Oslo. Read More

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Road trip through Norway – Part 3

Visiting Norway - Part 3 | The Cheerful Wanderer

This diary was originally written in July 2014. Over the next couple of days, I’ll be taking you with me to one of the greenest countries in the world, Norway.

Previous parts: 1 | 2

The road ahead seemed to be never-ending. On our way to Hornindal, we stopped at 3 places: Nærøyfjord, Tvindefossen (or Tvinde Waterfall) and Borgund stave church. Tvinde actually means “twin waterfall” and it refers to the waterwall being formed by the water from two rivers merging.

Visiting Norway - Part 3 | The Cheerful Wanderer

Tvinde waterfall and Borgund stave church

The history of Borgund stave church goes well back; it was built sometime between 1180 and 1250 AD with later additions. This is also the best preserved of Norway’s 28 extant stave churches. Nowadays the building’s used as a museum. Read More

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