The Chairfather: Père Lachaise part III
Baseball legend Yogi Berra said,
'When you come to a fork in the road, take it!'
Although Jean-Charles Alphand never met him, that's exactly what he's done with his tomb placement.
Le Notre gets tons of praise for the gardens of Versailles, and deservedly so. However, you and I were never meant to enjoy his conception, intended only for king and court.
Ah, but Alphand had millions of us humble citadins in mind for his pruning of Paris! Before him, Paris only had four public parks, all in the center. He painted little spots of green everywhere on the city map, which, unlike London's private gated squares, are available to everyone, until late at night.
Alphand bookended the city with the bois de Boulogne to the West and the bois de Vincennes to the East. He christened the parc Montsouris, the parc des Buttes-Chaumont, and expanded my favorite, the parc Monceau, which became the first new public park under Baron Haussmann. When the Baron was ousted, Alphand took over his post.
Thanks to both men, no neighborhood is more than a 10-minute walk from a respite, and each oasis is unique. Alphand showered us with flowers, grass for a stroll, lakes to sail toy boats and fountains to meditate on. He made Paris so liveable, breathable, and nature so accessible to so many.
Yogi Berra also said,
'Always go to other people's funerals; otherwise they won't go to yours.'
Good advice we'll remember as we leave Alphand on the left and take the path known as Chemin d'Ornano to the right climbing up.