Wednesday, March 15, 2017

'Pet's cemetery, Paris' by K.J.S.Chatrath

One has to give it to the French - they are loving and sensitive people. Who  else could have thought of giving a decent burial to one's pets and remembering them, year after year.  I had heard about this unusual cemetery for dogs and pets in Paris. When I visited Paris in 2014, I had kept half a day in my programme to search and visit this cemetery.

Locating it was not all that difficult, but it did involve changing of metro trains  and a decent bit of walking. I did reach the Cemetery at around 10 am. To my utter horror, I discovered that it was the weekly closed day for the cemetery.The large entrance gate was securely locked.  I kicked myself for not having checked up before choosing that day.

I took a round around the boundry of the cemetery and took some photographs. When I was at one of the side doors, I saw an old car arriving. The occupant got down near the gate, opened the door with a key went in and the door got locked again. I could see him walking around in the cemetery and tending it here and there. I waited. After about half an hour or so, the gentleman came out of the entrance gate again.

I swiftly went to him and greeted him in my badly broken French.  Then I quickly told him that I had come from India and was interested in visiting this unique cemetery and taking some photographs. 'Sorry', he said, 'today is the weekly off day. Come tomorrow and I will show you around.' But Sir, I am taking a flight back to India tomorrow morning, I pleaded. He looked at me again. Here was me, an old man, in simple clothes pleading in French. He repeated that according to rules, he could not let me enter the cemetery on a closed day. Being an ex-bureaucrat, I appreciated his stand. I thanked him, turned around and started walking away slowly and sadly

'Monsieur, s'il vous plait' he called me softly. I returned back to him and said 'Oui Monsieur'. He told me in French to give him my camera. 'But you stay her at the gate' he added. 'I will quickly take some photographs for you.' He went in with the camera and returned after a few minutes.

And here are the photos that he took for me. In my excitement I forget even to ask him his name.

 'Merci bien, Monsieur.!

P.S. I have added a watermark giving my name on all these photographs. I realised later that it was not correct that only the first four photos were taken by me and the rest by that benefactor.

The Cimetière des Chiens et Autres Animaux Domestiques (The cemetery of dogs and other domestic animals) is often claimed to be the first zoological necropolis in the modern world. It opened in 1899 at 4 pont de Clichy on Île des Ravageurs in Asnières-sur-Seine, Île-de-France, France.
Address: 4 Pont de Clichy, 92600 Asnières-sur-Seine, France

Phone: +33 1 40 86 21 11

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