The End: Jim Morrison’s Grave

On the day we visited the Pompidou Center, Richard and I decided to go a bit off the beaten path, so we walked over to the cemetery where Jim Morrison is buried.  It was a sad experience.

Jim Morrison's grave

Morrison’s grave is found in the Cimietiere du Pere Lachaise, where some other notables, like Oscar Wilde and Marcel Proust, also are buried.  It is a nice cemetery — apparently Paris’ most prestigious — that is filled with above-ground graves and family crypts.  Morrison’s grave is located in the interior of the cemetery, wedged between other burial sites.  It was not hard to find, because 99 percent of the people visiting the cemetery seemed to be there to see the last resting place of the Doors’ lead singer.  We just had to follow the crowd.

When Richard and I reached the gravesite, we found a group of loudly talking, laughing people jostling to get their pictures taken with the simple headstone in the background.  A cheap fence had been tied around the gravesite, presumably to keep most people people from chipping off pieces of the marker or otherwise disturbing the area.  As it was, people had placed flowers on Morrison’s grave and also had tossed in cigarettes, what looked like a white plastic bottle of some kinds of pills, and other debris.  The tree next to the site is covered with graffiti left by visitors, and the ground has been denuded of grass and packed hard by the feet of many, many visitors.

The tree next to the Morrison gravesite

I thought the visit to Morrison’s grave was depressing.  It struck me as a sad, not particularly pretty or peaceful resting place.  I felt sorry for Morrison that so many people remember (and apparently celebrate) him for his excesses, and I felt sorry for the families of people whose graves are next to Morrison’s and who therefore have to constantly deal with disrespectful, crass visitors who forget they are in a cemetery.

The inscription beneath Morrison’s name on the headstone is in Greek.  There seems to be some disagreement about precisely how it should be translated, but Wikipedia says its literal meaning is “according to his own demon.”  When Richard and I left the cemetery, we passed a storefront that was selling t-shirts that showed Morrison’s picture and said he was “wanted in Dade County, Florida.”

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2 thoughts on “The End: Jim Morrison’s Grave

  1. That makes me sick! He was a great poet and a beautiful man of his time. His music inspires me today. I was born after his death, but I am mature enough to appreciate him and what he gave to this world. Long Live Jim Morrison!!!

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  2. It seems, from the research that I have done, that his father decided upon that because Jim followed his own spirit no matter what – that’s why he chose that inscription.

    It also seems that all geniuses have their demons and Jim definitely had his. May he find a way to rest in peace.

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