Monday, December 31, 2012

Porte Principale Pere Lachaise

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Paul Baudry (1828-1886) division 4 Pere-Lachaise

Painter Paul Baudry; sculpture by Paul Dubois (in division 9):

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Ernest Caillat division 2 Pere-Lachaise

Monument designed by the French art nouveau architect Hector Guimard (1867-1942), who designed many of entrances to the Paris Metro. (Visit Felix Caillat's monument in division 56.)


Monday, December 24, 2012

Visconti in division 4 Pere-Lachaise

Louis Joachim Visconti and his father Ennius QuirinusVisconti, division 4. Reclining effigy by Barrias (Passy Cemetery) and bust in the rear by d'Angers (division 39 Pere-Lachaise).

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Alphonsine Plessis in Montmartre

One incredible young woman, Marie Rose Plessis, known as Alphonsine,  died of tuberculosis in 1847 at the age of 23. And still people leave flowers and candles by her grave. (The postcard reprinted here mistakenly listed her as buried in Pere-Lachaise.)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Pere-Lachaise -- in the beginning

Alexandre-Theodore Brongniart's map of Pere-Lachaise from 1813

and the 1813 map overlaying the 1884 Bezodis map of Pere-Lachaise, which is much as it looks today

Friday, December 21, 2012

Four guides to Paris Cemeteries

For the casual traveler to Paris one of the standard travel guides will usually suffice for getting around Pere-Lachaise or any of the other popular cemeteries in the city. and most usually offer a simple map with an itinerary -- and of course you can always pick up one of the official cemetery maps or, in the case of Pere-Lachaise, purchase one of the more detailed maps available near one of the main entrances.

But if you're looking for something different, something a bit more enlightening, consider one of these dedicated cemetery guides:

Guide des Cimetieres Parisiens by Jacques Barozzi (Editions Hervas 1990); French. somewhat dated with an infrequent inaccuracy, still this is a reasonably good overview of the major cemeteries in Paris. Arranged by cemetery and then division, with listings and information on notable burials; photos and maps for each cemetery discussed. Index of names

Unexplored Paris by Rodolphe Troulleux and Jacques Lebar, revised edition (Parisgramme 2009); English. OK so this isn't strictly a cemetery guide per se, but what a wonderful book. Aside from serving as a handy guide to those sights of Paris often missed by the harried tourist, this little book, long available only in French, points to some of the more interesting funeral things to see in the city. Index oddly arranged by alphabet but then not alphabetical.  Hmmmm.

Le Cimetiere Montparnasse by Marie-Laure Pierard (De Boree 2009); French. Frankly I don't care much for the layout of this book. Although ostensibly arranged by division, in fact for some odd reason the author jumps all around in her discussion of the major burials in each division. Poor reprint of the official cemetery map, which is not terribly useful. Index lists only the division number and not the page; a bit awkward I thought. Having said all that, to the best of my knowledge this is the only recent guide to Montparnasse, a cemetery worth a long stroll if not a lengthy visit in its own right.

Guide des Curiosites Funeraires a Paris by Anne-Marie Minvielle (Parisgramme 2008); French. Subititled Cimetieres, Eglises et Lieux de Memoire, this is another handy little volume to stuff in your bag. Arranged by arrondissement you can either plunge right in or check out the handy little table of contents at the front of the book for a more detailed itinerary. Very nice photographs (Minvielle is a professional photographer as well as a journalist) and the maps are well-executed. With appendices (annexes) that include a glossary of terms, a bibliography and glory be! an index of tombs listed in the book. How cool is that?!

While this is not mean to be an exhaustive list, it should help the serious cemetery tourist to discover some of the more unusual treasures awaiting them in the cemeteries of Paris.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

General Jacques Gobert in division 37 Pere-Lachaise

Killed at the Battle of Bailen in Spain on 19 July 1808. Statue by David d'Angers (buried nearby in division 39).

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Two early views of Pere-Lachaise by Henri Courvoisier-Voisin

view from division 44, looking west toward the center of Paris

view from roughly boulevard Meniltonant looking up rue de Repos toward the Maison Mont-Louis, now the chapel

Monday, December 17, 2012

Square Pere-Lachaise sculpture

This dramatic and moving sculpture by Paul Moreau-Vauthier (buried in division 14), depicts the final moments of those 147 communards lined up against the mur des federes in division 76 and summarily executed, and whose bodies were dumped into a mass grave directly in front of the wall. One legend has it that the pieces of stone used here came from the original wall, although there does not appear to be any evidence to support such a  claim -- still, it makes for a great story.

This is located outside of the cemetery and is part of Square Samuel de Champlain (formerly called Square Pere-Lachaise) and runs along the northern wall of Pere-Lachaise parallel with Avenue Gambetta.

When you exit the Pere-Lachaise metro cross the street like you're heading to the cemetery but bear to the left onto the Avenue Gambetta.