Architecture and famous dead in 2 Parisian cemeteries

Categories Places

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.

Just a section of the sprawlingCimetiere du Montmartre, the third biggest cemetery in Paris
Just a section of the 19 hectare Cimetiere du Montmartre

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.

Architecture of some of the tombs at the Cimetiere du Montmartre
Edgar Degas (artist) and Vaslav Nijinsky (danseur)
Edgar Degas (artist) and Vaslav Nijinsky (danseur) (Cimetiere de Montmartre)
Hector Berlioz (composer) and Jaqcues Offenbach (composer)
Hector Berlioz (composer) and Jaqcues Offenbach (composer) (Cimetiere de Montmartre)
Tree lined road in Cimetiere de Montparnasse
Tree lined road in Cimetiere de Montparnasse

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.

The photographer, Brassai and his wife Gilberte
The photographer, Brassai and his wife Gilberte (Cimetiere de Montparnasse)
Cesar Baldaccini (sculptor) and Jean Paul Sartre (philosopher and Nobel Prize winner for Literature, 1964)
Cesar Baldaccini (sculptor) and Jean Paul Sartre (philosopher and Nobel Prize winner for Literature, 1964) (Cimetiere de Montparnasse)
Grave of writer Susan Sontag
Grave of writer Susan Sontag (Cimetiere de Montparnasse)
Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications.

He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces.

I'm open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

3 thoughts on “Architecture and famous dead in 2 Parisian cemeteries

Tell me what you think

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.