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10. "This is the No Cell Phone, No Rush Hour Holiday Heaven. I laughed a lot and did a lot in spite of coming off of a recent family tragedy. But I got much needed quiet time in too, relaxing deeply. When I got back my calm continued. One of the other participants taught me how to make a 'pocket altar' (to honor a loved one gone), and I found a lot of peace in that back home." — Gui Fournier, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

9. "Père Lachaise, in particular, is as much a part of the City of Light as the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, and Notre-Dame. I've been to Paris many times, but I didn't know about half the places the hosts introduced me to in this sweet program. It should really be called Paris Graves et plus. " — Madeleine Jackson, Interior Designer (whose suggestion we adopted).

8. "When doing a 'rubbing' on gravestones, one feels a connection to the person who is buried below and with the artist who made the monument, just like Roberta Halporn* says. It all really helped with my journal writing." — Hans Mueller, Transitions Abroad

*Halporn is the founder of the Center for Thanatology Research & Education

7. "Historical figures, ironically enough, 'come alive' in walktalks with fellow participants, and during cafe tete-a-tetes . The host and hostess are truly authentic individuals. We benefited from their one-of-a-kind relationships with street performers who they introduced us to, and their professional preparedness. Unlike typical tour facilitators, they are sweet, almost shy, like unrushed, unaffected peacocks." — Adam Hall, Vermont Historical Society

6. "Dollar for Euro it's an incredible value....The funerary art at Montmartre and Montparnasse, for me, was every bit as intriguing —on its own terms— as what I found in the Louvre. And Green Paris is soooooo refreshing! I thrived on the daily walks." — Agnes O' Halloran, participant in both Paris Graves and French Paintbox

5. "There's a spiritual dimension that's tapped in the cemetery walks which is hard to find elsewhere." — Doreen Williamson, Topeka, Kansas, who got college credit for students accompanying her (for a course in Death and Dying).

4. "The views of Paris from Pere Lachaise are unparalleled." — Vince Marconi, formerly of Alitalia

3. "You can hear Oscar Wilde laugh, Edith Piaf sing and feel Heloise and Abelard resting ensemble." — Amy Chevalier, Yoga Instructor

2. "Although you don't need to know French at all to participate, it's a wonderful way to pick up or brush up on the language. Ricard and Sylvie even provide challenging situations for those who are they tailor-make all aspects of Paris Graves to fit the special interests and needs of participants*. I loved receiving a list of footwear to consider (I chose Mephisto's!), and the names of birds to look out for in the parks and gardens in the pre-trip literature." — Marjorie Calloway, New York City

*Not to toot our own horn too loudly, but in Marjorie's group we orchestrated the registrations so that 6 of the 8 people with us that spring had plans to stay beyond the Paris Graves session proper, AND had an interest in Monet's Giverny...which they traveled to together.

And the #1 reason for signing up? There's a tie with two entries here:

1A. "Paris Graves helped me to get in touch with my inner corpse. I'm serious when I say that I really reevaluated our Western way of handling death following my Paris Graves trip, and it helped me with regard to terminal illness in my own family, with those closest to me. My own loneliness." — Writer and Humorist Miguel Montoya

Babar's Dad1B. "The free newsletter which Sylvie and Ricard forward for up to a year following the Paris Graves experience is unbelievably rich, ranging from short bits of humor to scholarly treatises on matters related to many things French, not just cemetery-related topics. And the pre-bon voyage contact via email and snail mail is delightful, invaluable and unmatched." — Dave Ellenberg, retired California attorney

Special Note: One of the most beloved Paris Graves effects is not mentioned above, although many have made note of it over the course of several one form or another. To wit, participants whose initial take during previous contact with the French was that they were arrogant, aloof and/or high-handed...came away with a greater understanding of why they harbored such impressions.

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