Skip to content
17 May 2017 / leggypeggy

Strolling through a famous cemetery

Emile Zola, novelist

Emile Zola, novelist

Paris is one of the few cities in the world that is famous for, of all things, its cemeteries. Last time we were here, we visited the catacombs, which aren’t exactly cemeteries, but are filled with the bones of thousands of Parisians long gone.

This time we headed to Montmartre with its famous church, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris (or the Sacré-Coeur Basilica), and the nearby cemetery, which is the final resting place for many famous artists who lived and worked in the Montmartre area.

Montmartre Cemetery view to lower levelMontmartre Cemetery

Now before we get there, I have to have a little whinge about finding the entrance to the place.

I visited this cemetery in 2003, and I recall arriving at the gate without any difficulty at all. This time we walked around the entire perimeter and then back and forth over the Rue Caulaincourt viaduct that overlooks the entrance gate. The place seemed impenetrable and I began to think the only way in would be to abseil, but finally we noticed a small sign that pointed to a steep staircase that took us to ground level. If you’re ever in a similar situation, remember this address—20 Avenue Rachel in the 18th arrondissement.

Under Rue Caulaincourt viaduct

Part of Montmartre Cemetery runs under Rue Caulaincourt viaduct

Anyway, on to the cemetery.

We spent ages trailing around the cemetery (map in hand), looking for famous graves and admiring the beautiful landscapes. The graves of unknowns—at least unknown to us—far outnumber the famous and many are quite beautiful.

I’ve included some pics of both here and, for the most part, only added captions for the famous.

Okay, I’ll admit it. I didn’t know who all the famous people were but the map told me why they were famous and I’ve added that too.

P.S. I’ll try to stop by Montparnasse Cemetery before this trip ends. And more to come about Montmartre, in general, and the basilica.

P.P.S. If you need a laugh check out the goat cheese torta recipe from my other blog. It’s from Being dead is no excuse: the Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral.

Montmartre Cemetery

A blue monument, Montmartre Cemetery

A photogenic grave



Leave a Comment
  1. fiftywordsdaily / May 17 2017 7:21 am

    You’re getting closer…..Albert will put the kettle on…..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. beetleypete / May 17 2017 7:24 am

    Cemeteries are always interesting places, Peggy. I recall wandering around the enormous Pere Lachaise in Paris, sometime during the 1970s. It had the graves of Chopin, Honore de Balzac, Bizet, Oscar Wilde, Moliere, Marcel Proust, and many more. Some of the tombs and monuments were very impressive.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / May 17 2017 2:35 pm

      Thanks Pete. Adding that to my list. And yes, cemeteries are fascinating.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ken Berry / May 17 2017 7:33 am

    Trust you will also visit Père LaChaise cemetery too to see Oscar’s tomb, not to mention Marx (not one of the Brothers, but a good comrade!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 17 2017 2:39 pm

      Thanks Ken. On the list now. Don’t know why we haven’t been there before?


  4. Jenny Cook / May 17 2017 7:33 am

    loved all the cemeteries in Paris AND the catacombs! Here Llachaise houses the greatest number of famous people that i was aware of including Jim Morrison

    Liked by 2 people

  5. spearfruit / May 17 2017 8:04 am

    I find cemeteries fascinating – and this one does not disappoint. Thank you Peggy! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Coffee Shop Book Review / May 17 2017 8:07 am

    Definitely looks like a place worth visiting. Many of the those graves are lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 17 2017 3:32 pm

      I had trouble restraining myself from posting 50 more pics. 🙂


  7. phyllis / May 17 2017 8:17 am

    I love cemeteries too. Last April we were touring the catacombs in Lima Peru! Poor John was sick that day. Paris is on our bucket list so thanks for all your travel tips. My first experience with a cemetery is when I played in one and picked some lovely flowers to take home to my mother. Ha ha She quickly marched me back and I had to remember where to place each flower back to its rightful owner!

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / May 17 2017 2:43 pm

      Oh my, Phyllis, I can just imagine you collecting flowers. Hope you didn’t have too big a bunch to redistribute.


  8. wfdec / May 17 2017 8:20 am

    The goat cheese torta was a very neat segway from cemetery to funerals.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Brian Lageose / May 17 2017 10:15 am

    Yet another destination that I have somehow overlooked, despite being all over Montmartre a couple of times. Sigh. Apparently I am not a very focused traveler…

    Liked by 3 people

  10. toutparmoi / May 17 2017 10:34 am

    Old cemeteries are a delight, whether or not they house the remains of the famous. Some years ago I was wandering around a modest rural one here in NZ, saw a rather impressive looking monument, and thought, “The family that put that up must have had a pretty good opinion of itself.” Ahem. Closer inspection revealed it to be the grave of one of my great-grandfathers.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Sharon Bonin-Pratt / May 17 2017 10:44 am

    How very beautiful these are.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. tomvancel / May 17 2017 11:24 am

    Makes me realize my own mortality and feel inferior when I see the graves of the famous.

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / May 17 2017 2:47 pm

      Sometimes the simplest graves are the most touching and impressive.


  13. Vicki / May 17 2017 11:27 am

    ….and I thought I was the only one to like walking around cemeteries. Regardless of fame (or infamy), the details are such a rich history through the ages of plagues, poor sanitation, ships going down with all lost (if near the coast) and a whole lot more. Some of the mausoleum or crypts are interesting in design too.
    (I remember the catacombs in Rome holding a fascination for me in particular).

    Liked by 4 people

    • leggypeggy / May 17 2017 2:48 pm

      Thanks Vicki, adding the catacombs in Rome to our list. Someday I’ll count up how many cemeteries I’ve visited.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Vicki / May 17 2017 3:37 pm

        PS the other fascination for me in Rome was the cart ruts in the cobbled roadway. I tried to take a photo, but with a little $10 camera, it wasn’t a good shot – too much shadow for a cheap little Instamatic camera. I just stared and stared, fascinated with the whole idea that these long worn dips in the stones were from chariots (?) or horse drawn carts from so many hundreds of years ago.
        (Just as one of the farms on the English estate I worked as a live-in Nanny was mentioned in the Doomsday book. I just can’t get over this evidence of ancient habitation still remaining from so long ago).

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / May 17 2017 3:39 pm

        I saw similar cart ruts in the north of Syria. Really does boggle the mind to comprehend the history we are viewing.


  14. Agnes Manning / May 17 2017 12:10 pm

    My friend Judy brought me “Being Dead Is No Excuse” when we got together a few months ago. When I saw her in March, she brought “Some Day You’ll Thank Me for This” and ‘Somebody Is Going to Die if Lilly Beth Doesn’t Catch That Bouquet.” Guess you’re close enough to being a southerner to appreciate “Some Day You’ll Thank Me for This,” the official southern ladies’ guide to being a perfect mother. Libby and Petra, does she qualify?

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 17 2017 2:49 pm

      Oh Agnes, those are priceless titles. I’ll write to you about getting the recipes from page 32s in those books. Would love to add the recipes from them to the blog.


  15. blondieaka / May 17 2017 1:53 pm

    I love Paris and its cemeteries or rather I just love a cemetery. Highgate in London particularly Because of the Karl Marx association a variety of Socialist leaders and thinkers are buried within the cemetery grounds and of course, it has connections with the occult and it is said the Highgate vampire 🙂 Spooky goings on were happening there….

    Liked by 3 people

  16. derrickjknight / May 17 2017 6:26 pm

    Fascinating. When I read the title I thought it would be Père Lachaise. You might like this post, Peggy:

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / May 18 2017 1:54 am

      Thanks Derrick. Père Lachaise is now on my must-see list. Will report back soon. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. pvcann / May 17 2017 10:55 pm

    Amazing, great to see these photos. I’ve heard of the Parisian catacombs, would be wonderful to see.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. lorriedeck / May 17 2017 11:29 pm

    Some of those graves are so interesting. Loved the glass one. Very different.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. mistermuse / May 18 2017 1:49 am

    Interesting post and comments. Coincidentally, one of the stars featured in my latest post, American jazz great Sidney Bechet, is buried in Paris. Oddly enough, he was born and died on the same day (May 14) — but not in the same year, which would really be odd. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Green Global Trek / May 18 2017 1:56 am

    We often visit cemetries. Of note is the gorgeous one in Buenos Aires! But for some reason in Paris we have not. Maybe because of the fact that Paris is Ben’s “hometown” and so when there we tend to do very non touristy stuff, but I certainly enjoyed visiting it with you! Maybe next time!


    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 18 2017 2:01 am

      The cemetery in Buenos Aires is amazing. I must post about it one of these days. And I highly recommend checking out some of the offerings in Paris.


  21. Sadaf Siddiqi / May 18 2017 3:04 am

    The most peaceful place.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. gerard oosterman / May 18 2017 8:56 am

    Yes, there is nothing quite like visiting a good cemetery. Did you have time to visit Oscar Wilde? I believe he is resting at Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris.
    I do hope the graves have real flowers and not those dreadful plastic bunches ( all fading in the wind) you see up here.
    Russian cemeteries are great too. Always busy with people picnicking and merrymaking. It makes one think when adding the years, that sooner or later we all end up somewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 18 2017 3:08 pm

      Père Lachaise is on our list. As with most cemeteries, there was a mix of plastic and real flowers but, sadly, no picnickers. I like to think of people picnicking on my grave.


  23. JunkChuck / May 18 2017 10:33 am

    Looks wonderful–almost enough to make me consider backing off my Viking Pyre scheme.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. afterthelasttime / May 18 2017 2:13 pm

    Great info on a morbid subject! I’m really surprised they built a viaduct over such a beautiful cemetary full of amazing headstones and monuments. Thank you, Peggy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 18 2017 3:14 pm

      Yes, the viaduct surprised me too, but it goes over only a very small part of the cemetery.


  25. Miriam / May 18 2017 10:04 pm

    Looks fascinating. What is it about cemeteries that’s so alluring.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Sartenada / May 30 2017 3:47 pm

    How glad I am that You presented the cemetery of Père Lachaise. We have been there thrice and every time we find new graves of famous persons. Thank You.

    Have a good day!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. America On Coffee / Aug 25 2017 2:47 pm

    This is exciting! Impenetrable? So much has changed due to the changed temperment of our world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Aug 25 2017 4:30 pm

      The changes taking place in the world are confounding.


  28. RoughBandit / Sep 1 2017 7:31 am

    I saw these guys walking round the cemetery for hours…. I think they lost the plot 🤣

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: