All fans should start their memorial tour by paying a visit to Jim's grave in Père Lachaise Cemetery in the Southeast of Paris. While there,visit other famous graves such as Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, Honore de Balzac and Frederic Chopin. Jim himself visited here with a friend (not Alain Ronay as previously reported) less than a week before his death. He supposedly expressed his desire at this time to be buried in Père Lachaise. He did not know how prophetic his statement would be.
The cemetery is open Monday-Friday from 7:30AM-6PM. During the summer it opens on Saturdays at 8:30AM and on Sundays at 9AM. In the winter it opens on Saturdays at 8AM and on Sundays at 9AM. If you want to be alone at the grave you should arrive very early. After l0AM there seems to be a constant stream of visitors as well as guided tours. The silence is then disturbed. Jim's grave is the fourth most visited site in Paris after the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Pompidou Center.
Do not stay in the Cemetery after closing time and whatever you do, do not try to climb the walls it is nearly impossible now. Dogs patrol the cemetery. There are two hidden video cameras watching Jim's grave 24 hours a day, which are watched at the guardhouse. One of them is hidden in the fake street lamp on the right next to the grave. The other is supposed to be in one of those trees in the back. Both cameras catch every move at the grave (a few drug dealers were busted as well as some prostitutes a few years back). And, do not try to write graffiti because it is a 5,000-Franc fine!
Directions to Jim's grave: It is located in the 6th division, second line. From the metro, exit at the station called Philippe Auguste. On the right you will see a bar named Le Celtic on the other side of the street. Follow Rue Pierre Bayle up right next to this bar which leads to the walls of Père Lachaise, turn left into Rue de Repos until you see a small gate on your right. Go into the cemetery through this gate (the guards may check your bags if you look like you are on your way to Jim's grave) and go towards the right. Turn right onto the next street and left again onto the next street which leads you directly to Jim's grave up the hill. (The streets' in Père Lachaise are cobblestone streets and are very narrow) Up the hill you will see a rusty monument in front of you. Follow the narrow path between this one and the one of the left. After a very few feet you'll see Jim's grave on your left, hopefully covered with flowers.
Jim was buried in this plot on July 7, 1971, 4 meters deep, at 8:30AM in the most inexpensive coffin the mortician had to offer. Pamela Courson paid only 366 French Francs (old ones) for the "cercueil chêne verne", a veneered coffin and 878 Francs in total for the entire burial. A French Franc back in 1971 was about five to a dollar. One wonders where her sense of propriety was let alone her money. According to Madame Colinette, who watched the burial, the funeral "was disgraceful." Madame Colinette has stated that the procedure of putting Jim in the ground took about 10 minutes. No priest or minister was present, no prayers were said. Agnes Varda said a few words. Everyone left in a hurry and never returned he whole scene was piteous and miserable Madame has stated. The interview with Madame Colinette can be seen in the German TV film entitled "Jim Morrison Quiet Days in Paris" which was based on a chapter from my book.
After Jim was buried nothing was left but a little hill of mud. A few days later someone laid some shells around it. They were stolen as was the black shield the cemetery officials erected in August 1971 saying in white lettering "Douglas Morisson, James 1943-1971". In 1972 another shield was erected, made of stone, with the same strange, French spelling of Jim's last name. This was stolen as well in late 1973 and the grave stayed unmarked until July 2, 1981, when a beautiful white bust, sculpted by a Yugoslavian fan, was erected. The Doors came to visit the grave the next day, marking the l0th anniversary, as documented in the video "The Soft Parade" and also as a private Super 8 film featured in "Jim Morrison Quiet Days in Paris."
Everyone loved the bust marking Jim's grave until some over-zealous fans cut off the nose, painted on it and filled it with graffiti. In the end it looked horrible. Finally, some young French people stole it during the night of May 7-8, 1988. So, for another three years, the grave went unmarked. Finally, Jim's parents, Admiral and Mrs. Morrison, erected a stone monument bearing the Greek "KATA TON DAIMONA EAYTOY". There are different translations available for this Greek "saying". The most appropriate seems to be from the Old Greek, which translates as "To the Divine Spirit Within Himself". In New Greek it translates "He Caused His Own Demons".
This is how the grave looks today. More and more people visit the grave every year its quiet days are over. The cemetery officials are busy using the machine Jim's parents paid for to clean up all the graffiti. The first time Jim visited Paris was about a year before he died, without Pamela. Jim moved into the Hôtel George V (31 Avenue George V: Metro: George V) along with the Doors' financial manager, Leon Barnard and Leon's friend Rick. They led the life of normal tourists visiting Napoleon's grave, the catacombs, and Montmartre Hill. Jim wrote poetry while sitting on the stairs of the famous Church of Sacre-Coeur. After three days Leon and Rick left for Copenhagen and Jim ran into his old friend, Alain Ronay, by accident. Neither of them knew that the other was in Paris.
After approximately four days Jim moved out of the Hôtel Georges V to go on holiday with Alain. They traveled through Spain and spent more than a week in Morocco. I've seen photographs of Jim in Marrakech, dressed in a colorful caftan, dancing with Moroccan children on Marrakech's Djemaa El Fna-Square. Other pictures show him sitting in a café high above the square drinking some peppermint tea.
After about l0 days Jim returned to Paris and stayed in a very cheap hotel for American students called Hôtel de Medicis (214 Rue St. Jacques: Metro: Luxembourg) for another week until he left for LA to prepare for the Miami trial. Entering this hotel today you can still smell the damp of old age it is still very cheap.
Jim Morrison returned to Paris on March 11, 1971. His companion, Pamela Courson, had arrived in Paris on February 14th and was staying at the Hôtel Georges V. Jim had told her this hotel looked like a "red plush whorehouse" he moved in with her for a week. They then moved to an apartment at l7 Rue Beautreillis in the Marais section of Paris (Metro: Bastille take the exit for Rue Saint Antoine and the fifth street on the left off of Rue Saint Antoine is Rue Beautreillis). The apartment was rented from a French model, Elizabeth (ZoZo) Lariviere and her boyfriend, an American TV Producer. Jim and Pam paid 3000 Francs per month (about $600 at that time) in ZoZo's absence. ZoZo left on April 10th and until then Jim and Pam shared one of the three bedrooms in the apartment.
Pamela (as remembered by ZoZo) only talked about "Jeem" as she used to call him in her shrieking voice. But it wasn't beyond Pamela to beg ZoZo to tell lies for her in the mornings after she had spent the night with her French Count, Jean DeBreteuil, and his friends. Jim disliked these people immensely.
Jim loved the apartment in the Marais, the beautiful ancient Jewish quarter of Paris. The apartment was quiet and sunny, and he used ZoZo's desk for writing poetry, working on his project entitled "Observations of America While On Trial for Obscenity in Miami", starting the script of a rock opera, and writing letters to friends. Jim also loved the Marais. He would walk down Rue Saint Antoine with all those lovely shops offering fresh vegetables, fish and meat, bread and cheese. He bought cheese (strong smelling and tasty cheese from the Pyrénées mountains) at the little shop around the corner, Les Fils Pervrier (43 Rue Saint Antoine), and bottles of wine (preferably white Bordeaux wine) at Vin des Pyrénées (25 Rue Beautreillis). Vin des Pyrénées is now a restaurant using the same name as the vine shop before. (Metro: Rue Beautreillis)
Opposite the apartment there is still a restaurant called Le Beautreillis (18 Rue Beautreillis). Until 1990 it was owned by an elderly French couple who had lovely stories to tell about Jim. They served lovely native French food. Then Vieran, a gentleman from Yugoslavia, rented the restaurant, unaware of its history. Fans started showing up and showed him the Doors Quarterly Magazine and my book and Vieran changed the atmosphere of the restaurant completely. The walls were covered with photos he took of his patrons as well as memorabilia of all kinds (photos of Jim's apartment, tiles from Jim's bathroom, celebrity photos, letters and stickers). The restaurant served Slavic food. Vieran also kept a visitor's book, which was interesting to look at. In 1993 he changed "Jim's room" again. Unfortunately, Vieran was forced to give up the restaurant in late 1996. The atmosphere in the restaurant was totally changed. Prices for meals and drinks doubled. Jim's room was completely gone. The new owner wanted his restaurant to be neat and tidy and thought that Jim Morrison and his fans would bring him a bad reputation. The restaurant finally closed in November 1998. It is a lawyer's office now.
Jim went to this restaurant quite often whenever he didn't want to go too far away from the apartment for dinner. Jim with Pamela were seen there on July 1, 1971 at about 9:30PM. Two German students were seated at the same table since the restaurant was crowded that evening. They were not aware that it was Jim seated at the table until Pamela, in the midst of a fight with Jim, kept screaming out his full name as he quickly exited the restaurant to get away from her. According to the students Pamela threw some money on the table and ran after Jim through the door of their apartment building. One of the German students still has the empty bottle of wine that Jim and Pamela had for dinner that evening.
Walk down Rue Beautreillis, cross Rue Saint Antoine, follow Rue Birague and enter the Place des Vosges where Jim use to relax, have a beer in one of the bars and write poetry while sitting on one of the countless benches inside the lovely park. Some of his poems from "Wilderness" and "The American Night" were written here. This square still looks like one of those amazing squares in Venice. You should spend an hour or more here people watching and relaxing. It use to be one of Jim's favorite places to hide away from the world.
The next stop on our tour is the Quai D'Anjou on the Ile St. Louis. Go back to Rue Beautreillis, turn left onto Rue des Lions until you get to Boulevard Henri IV. Turn right, cross the bridge called Port Sully, and walk down the stairs. Down at the Quai turn to your left. Right there, at the River Seine, Jim often used to sit watching the ships pass by and the people on the other side of the river. It definitely is beautiful there in the sun and you can forget the noise around you. At 17 Quai D'Anjou there is the Hôtel de Lauzun, where Jim went because Charles Baudelaire, one of his favorite French poets, used to join his Hashish Club there. Jim did not live in this hotel he just loved to look at the architecture both outside and in. (Metro: Sully Morland).
The 6th Arrondissement is still well-known for its nightlife today. But, in 1971, it was even more interesting. Jim loved this section of Paris which was very hip with students and insiders at that time. I'm sure he went to many more restaurants, bars and cafés than are mentioned here but here are a few where he was definitely seen:
Café de Flore, a very expensive café, was a favorite of Pamela's. Accompanied by the Count she met a friend, Tere Tereba, here on June 26, 1971. Jim's last interview was with Tere the following day. Jim himself spent a great amount of time here (try the hot chocolate it's great!). To get there take Metro exit St. Germain-des-Près cross Boulevard St. Germain-des-Près and turn left. You can't miss it at 172 Boulevard St. Germain.
Les Deux Magots is a beautiful restaurant right next to the Café de Flore at 168 Boulevard St. Germain. Jim loved it because of its Art Deco design and used to have dinner there quite often. Even today, The Doors go there whenever they are in town.
Opposite the Church of St. Germain there is the Grand Hôtel Taranne. In 1971 it was a bar called L'Astroquet (153 Boulevard St. Germain), a casual Parisian café. Jim met American singer Phil Trainer there on April 3, 1971 and had a spontaneous jam session with members of Trainer's band, Clinic. Phil remembers them singing "Crawling King Snake" and countless other blues songs. He also remembers Jim chain-smoking Marlboros, which caused long and painful coughing. The L'Astroquet used to be where the hotel's reception area is now.
Jim and Pam's apartment was being occupied for a few days by ZoZo and a few of her friends in May 1971 so they stayed at L'Hôtel. Follow Rue Bonaparte (north off of Place St. Germain-des-Près) and find the fourth street on the right. This is Rue des Beaux Arts where L'Hôtel is located (13 Rue des Beaux Arts). They stayed in the same room on the second floor in which Oscar Wilde died. Jim fell out of the window onto a car parked below one day but did not get hurt. He wiped the dust off of his jacket and continued his drinking tour.
Now follow Rue Bonaparte until you see Galerie Patrice Trigano at 4bis Rue des Beaux Arts. In 1971 this was a hotel and Jim and Pamela had a room there during an unknown period, most probably in May 1971. An American woman named Deborah met Jim here and had a conversation with him as he was sitting in the lobby watching a TV documentary on the February 10th earthquake in the Los Angeles area of the same year. Deborah remembers him mentioning "his girlfriend upstairs".
Deborah met Jim again some weeks later having a beer in a nice bar called La Palette (43 Rue de Seine) on the corner of Rue Jacques Callot. She spoke with him again and he said that he and his girlfriend had moved into a flat in the Marais. To get to this bar (which is decorated with a lot of old paintings), just follow Rue des Beaux Arts and turn left onto Rue de Seine. La Palette is on your right after a few meters.
Now go back down Rue de Seine on the left hand side. You will find the Whiskey a Gogo at 57 Rue de Seine. It was called the Rock'n'Roll Circus at the time Jim lived there. It was a club, which had live music as well as food and catered to night people. The Parisian heroin scene met there. It was here that Gilles Yepremian, a young french student, met Jim Morrison, on May 7, 1971. Jim, who was drunk, had already spent some time sitting in the long entrance hallway which leads to the door, yelling at people who were walking up the stairs. When Gilles noticed it was not a normal American tourist trying to regain entry to the club (the security men had thrown him out) he managed to get Jim out of the front door into the street and hired a taxi. After a stop at the bridge, Pont de la Concorde, where Jim jumped up onto the railing shouting nasty words about some cops walking by, Gilles hired another taxi which took them to Hervé Muller's flat at 6 Place Tristan Bernard for the night. Jim went back there a couple of times after his first visit and Gilles took a few photos of Jim, Pamela, Hervé and Henri-Jean Henu, a French journalist, in front of the door in mid-May 1971 (for the complete story told by Gilles read the Doors Quarterly #29 and watch the film "Jim Morrison's Quiet Days in Paris").
The famous door (Gilles' photo of Jim standing in front of the door can be seen in "No One Here Gets Out Alive") is still there today. To see it, exit Metrostation Charles de Gaulle Etoile, follow Avenue Mac-Mahon and turn left onto Avenue des Ternes which leads to Place Tristan Bernard. The door you are looking for is on the right side of this square next to a restaurant.
Jim also met Hervé and Gilles in a bar/restaurant at 57 Avenue des Ternes sometime in May 1971. There is a Sony HiFi Shop there now. From Place Tristan Bernard go back to Avenue des Ternes to the right side of the street.
I'm sure you have seen photos of a meeting in a restaurant called Bar Alexandre (53 Avenue George V; Metro: George V) taken by Hervé Muller and Yvonne Fuka, his girlfriend at the time. They all had dinner on May 8, 1971 at noon. Jim used to go here quite often no matter how drunk he got because he would tip the waiters very well. This particular day, he proceeded to get drunk as usual. He threw himself on the bench opposite the restaurant shouting "I don't wanna go away! Where are you taking me?" The Bar Alexandre closed in late 1990 and was torn down. A Japanese Bank was built there. Even the bench was taken away in 1992 (or stolen by a Morrison fan?). Consequently there is nothing to see here now.
Hervé Muller met Jim for the last time on June 11, 1971. Hervé and Jim, together with Alain Ronay and Yvonne Fuka, went to the Théâtre de la Musique, which used to be on Rue Papin (Metro: Réaumur Sebastopol), a very small side street off the large Boulevard de Sebastopol. They went to see Bob Wilson's "Le Regard Du Sourd" (a play about deaf people with no dialogue). It is a very small building between number 3 and number 5 Rue Papin and is now closed to the public.
On June 27, 1971, Jim, Pamela and Tere Tereba, a friend of Pamela's, went to La Coupole, a restaurant which reminded Jim of Ratner's Deli on the Lower East Side of New York (102 Boulevard du Montparnasse; Metro: Montparnasse-Bienvenue). This restaurant was hip with art students and it was the first time Jim and Pamela had been there. Here Jim told Tere about his future plans, especially his ideas about showing the films "The Doors Are Open", "Feast of Friends", and "Highway" in Paris.
The next day, June 28th, Jim, Pamela and Alain Ronay drove north in Alain's car to Chantilly, a beautiful city just 40 minutes from Paris. The visited the amazing Chateau (south of Chantilly), looking at the architecture of the castle and the paintings inside its museum. (To get there take the A1 north towards Charles de Gaulle airport; drive past the airport and take the exit for Chantilly. Just follow the signs for Chantilly they lead you directly to the castle).
After the sightseeing at the castle was finished, Alain suggested they go to a fête in a nearby town. (a fairground taking place once a year). They drove to a little town named Saint-Leu-d-Esserent northwest of Chantilly. Jim and Pamela seemed to enjoy themselves and Pamela used Jim's Super-8 Video Camera to record their visit. Alain took pictures of them looking at a lottery stand where you could win guitars! They sat at the restaurant of the Hôtel de l'Oise, on the left side, next to the fête site and had coffee, french fries and Kronenbourg beer. Again, Alain took a couple of photos of Jim and Pamela sitting at a table right in front of the hotel's restaurant. If you look at the photos you can still find today the exact place where they were sitting which is on the left hand side of the restaurant even though the restaurant has changed a bit. The fête still takes place every year at the end of June.
Opposite the hotel there is the River Oise and here Ronay took more photos of the couple (look at the trees on the other side of the river they are still the same). For me it was very exciting to visit here with the knowledge that Jim only had four more days to live. The photos taken here were published in "King" magazine in Italy and a few others in "Paris Match" in France. A few different ones were published in an otherwise uninteresting German Doors biography called "Tanz Im Feuer" by Hans Pfitzinger.
To get to Saint Leu-d'Esserent, drive into Chantilly (through the large ancient gate) and turn right onto the very next street, which will lead you out of the city again. Follow this street until you get to a crossing where you can only turn left or right. Turn left here and follow the signs to Saint Leu-d'Esserent. Cross the old bridge across the Oise River (which you can see in the background of some of Ronay's photos) and turn right onto the first street after the bridge. You will see the Hôtel de l'Oise on your left after about 50 meters. The restaurant has excellent food at a moderate price.
On July 1, 1971 Jim was recognized by an American fan. It was in a bar called Le Mazet (Rue St. André des Arts; Metro: Odeon) after llPM at night while Jim was having a bottle of white Bordeaux and eating a Croque Monsieur. Jim was sitting right behind the glass door on the left side of the bar. He obviously went there alone after the two German students saw him and Pam at the Restaurant Le Beautreillis. Le Mazet changed its interior completely in 1990. To get there follow Rue de L'Ancien-Comédie until you get to the busy Carrefour de Buci and turn right onto Rue St. André des Arts. Le Mazet is a few meters on your right.
What Jim did on July 2nd is not easy to reconstruct. It is known that he went with Alain Ronay to an unknown restaurant on Rue St. Antoine. He didn't speak much but silently ate his dinner. Ronay noticed Jim's face looking like a death mask and remembered a case of the hiccups torturing Jim. After dinner Alain had to leave Jim. Jim walked home to send a telegram to his publisher, Jonathan Dolger. Then he went (it has not been reported that he took Pamela with him) to a cinema called Action Lafayette (9 Rue Buffault; Metro: Cadet) to watch the Robert Mitchum movie "Pursued" which was in English with French subtitles. The cinema was located in an office building and is now a boutique.
Only God knows what happened after Jim left the cinema. Did he go home to continue writing? Did Pamela offer him heroin which he took? Did he take Pamela's heroin thinking it was cocaine? Did she let him die, sleeping off her own smack while he was in his bath? Or was he alone in the apartment, coughing blood while she was in bed with someone else (rumors say today this man is a famous French TV personality), not returning until 6 in the morning? What did he die of and where did he die? Did he die at the Rock'n'Roll Circus or in his own bath at Rue Beautreillis 17?
This tourist guide for Jim's fans was carefully put together and is the most complete one you will find. Paris changes a lot these days and nobody knows how long we will be able to see the same buildings, bars, streets and sights that Jim visited in 1971. When I wrote the first version of this guide to Paris, the Bar Alexandre was still open, the Le Beautreillis restaurant and Le Mazet hadn't changed at all. Today, eight years later, everything is totally different. The entire Marais area is changing they are tearing down ancient buildings to make room for fast food restaurants.
Jim Morrison didn't leave many traces, but even the few he left are about to disappear!