I’ve been exploring cemeteries in the Philippines for quite a while now and discovering interesting architecture, be it from crumbling Spanish colonial era chapels to art deco mausoleums always gives me a great thrill. But when I was in Paris when I got invited to show photography work at Photoquai 2013, I did have an opportunity to explore two cemeteries as well.
Although I wasn’t able to visit the largest, Cimetiere du Pere Lachaise, it was during two walks around Montmartre and Montparnasse that I stumbled upon these two cemeteries. Especially for the latter, I was amazed at the order and cleanliness, the beautiful architecture from neo-gothic to modern and the famouse people who have been buried in these places.
Cimetiere du Montmartre
This is the third largest of Paris’s cemeteries after Pere Lachaise and Montparnasse. Used to be a gyspum quarry, it was opened in 1825. I like the quite of the place, the breezy roads lined with trees and the interesting architecture, many of which are neo-classic or neo-gothic styles.
It’s a popular tourist destination because of the many famous people who are buried here including artists, statesmen, musicians and many more. The good thing here is that at the entrance, there’s already a numbered guide map indicating where a particular famous person is buried.
Entrance to Cimetiere du Montmartre is via Avenue Rachel under Rue Caulaincourt at the 18th arrondissement, Montmartre area.
Cimetiere du Montparnasse
I wasn’t expecting to visit this one but when I was around Montparnasse area to check out some photo galleries, including the Fondation Henri Cartier Bresson, I was glad I stumbled into this cemetery. Opened in 1824 and spread over 19 hectares, this is the second largest cemetery in Paris. Like Cimetiere du Montmartre, it is well maintained and clean.
This is also a popular with tourists as several intellectuals were buried here. Of the many listed, I only know a few including the photographer Brassai and Susan Sontag.
Cimetiere du Montparnasse is in the 14th arrondissement at Edgar Quinet & rue Froidevaux, 14e. When taking the Metro, alight at Edgar Quinet or Raspail.