Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Postcard from Paris: Caillat in Père-Lachaise D2

This lovely monument was designed by Hector Guimard, who also designed those wonderful, whimsical art nouveau entrances to the Paris Metro.

D2 along Avenue de la Conservation. Photo c. 1900.
monument in 2006

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Postcard from Paris: the old Communards in Père-Lachaise D76

This one is a bit of a puzzle. A number of sources mention three of the graves represented here: Prudent-Villers (far left), Mortier (next to Prudent and Clement (far right) but not the name of the grave with the bust of a man.and to make matters worse, the bust in the postcard is missing.

However, there is a possible answer to this tiny mystery. In Moiroux's 1908 guide to the cemetery he mentions the grave of French painter and former communard Louis-Ernest Pichio (d. 1898) as being near this very location.

Pichio, also known as "Picq", was perhaps most famous for his painting of the summary execution of 146 communards at this very spot on May 28, 1871.
photo by Pierre-Yves Beaudouin, wikimedia
by Pichio

Sunday, October 22, 2017

This blog has moved to my website

Well, the big news is that I've finally moved my Paris Cemeteries blog to my Paris Cemeteries website. Duh. About time, I know.

You can find out more and subscribe right here:


So, after this post says adieu to blogger. Life is short, go to paris.

A bientôt!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Postcard from Paris: Avenue Principale in Père-Lachaise

I have a number of vintage postcards of various views of Avenue Principale  in my collection but wanted to share this one since it shows the Avenue before the center portion was dug out.

When the cemetery was first opened in 1804 this portion was quickly filled with graves, all of which are now long gone, either lost or removed to the ossuary. It is quite possible that the three pieces of stone or marble in the near center portion of the grass might be old headstones.

Also you get an idea of what the original view of the top of the hill -- where the chapel now sits -- from the main gate was like. Today the view is obstructed by trees and overgrowth above the Monument aux morts sculpture in the center of the photo frame.
this shows the avenue after it was dug out, probably c. 1920s

this shows the avenue in 2016

Saturday, July 29, 2017

C. P. Arnaud and Père-Lachaise

Marie Beleyme's latest article on her blog focusing on the early history of Père-Lachaise Cemetery examines C. P. Arnaud's lovely 1816 map of the earliest burials. She's created a wonderful interactive feature using Arnaud's map that provides popup photos of each gravesite.

You can learn more right here (and work on your French at the same time) - or copy and paste the link:


Saturday, July 01, 2017

Women of Paris

Just a few of the many incredible people you'll find in the cemeteries of Paris.


Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Juliette Recamier in Montmartre

When you see Juliette, tell her I said bonjour and will stop by and pay my respects the next time I'm in town. You have to look hard for Juliette at the cemetery in Montmartre -- ever modest even when she was the toast of Paris she's now quite elusive. You'll find her in Division 30.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Take a tour of the ghostly Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale in the Bois de Vincennes

Join Adams Roberts of Invisible Paris blog as he leads a tour of the exotic Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale in the Bois de Vincennes:

"As part of the worldwide Obscura Day events on Saturday May 6 I will be hosting a tour of the ghostly Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale in the Bois de Vincennes. The Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale was originally the site of an experimental nursery that searched for ways to improve the cultivation of tropical plants and trees that would then be sent out for planting across the empire. The hothouses in the gardens were filled with exotic trees including coffee, cocoa, banana, and vanilla, and attempts were also made to grow these plants outside on site."

 To read more about the gardens or for information about the tour and to make a reservation visit his blog.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The 2017 edition of my Père-Lachaise Guide is now available

The 2017 edition of my Guide to the Art in Père-Lachaise is now available.

You can find it right here.

If you have an older edition I'll send you the new edition free of charge -- just tear off the cover and send it to:

Paris Cemeteries
PO Box 150044
Grand Rapids, Michigan

 Be sure to include your mailing address, si vous plait! Oh, and the map I created to go along with the guide has also been updated and you can find it online right here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Le Declin lost and found

Sculpted by Clément Leopold Steiner, and once located in what was called Square Père-Lachaise, now Square Samuel de Champlain, overlooking Avenue Gambetta, this touching, and somewhat melancholic statue was removed many years ago. 

The good news is that Adam Roberts of the Invisible Paris blog has tracked down the story behind the statue and what became of it.

 Located not far from where Paul Moreau-Vauthier's Memorial to the Victims of Revolution now stands.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Paris Morgue

Below is an illustration c. 1845 of the famous (certainly notorious) Paris morgue. Once located near Notre Dame on the Isle de la Cite, the morgue opened in 1860 as a place where friends and families could come and identify the bodies of their loved ones. After it expanded in 1864 into a larger building it quickly became quite the tourist attraction by the end of the 19th century.

Want to learn more about the morgue or to read a contemporary account (published in the Harvard Crimson in 1885?