28 April 2015

Montmartre Cemetery

A dull, rainy day in Paris and a perfect day to visit a cemetery. This one, Montmartre Cemetery, or la Cimetière de Montmartre, was built in the early 19th century as part of a drive to improve living conditions within Paris. Older cemeteries were causing all kinds of health problems for nearby residents and the local government ordered the construction of three new cemeteries to be located outside the then existing city limits of the city.

This cemetery is located in a unique location, an abandoned gypsum quarry. The quarry had been used during the French Revolution as a mass grave. It was built below the street level, in the hollow of the quarry. Still the case today, the entrance was constructed on avenue Rachel under rue Caulaincourt, which is somewhat apparent in the photo below.

Not the most famous cemetery in Paris, it is still a popular tourist destination as the resting place for famous artists and writers, many of whom lived and worked in Montmartre. A bonus to visiting the cemetery, apart from its tranquil setting, is listening to the sounds of hundreds of birds, a sound not often heard in the more lively parts of Paris.

Photos by Jim Murray. Copyright 2015.

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