Montparnasse Cemetery

Montparnasse Cemetery (48)

Planned by Napoleon in the 19th century, Montparnasse is the second largest cemetery in the city in extension and, at the time, was on the outskirts and replaced the other smaller cemeteries in the old quarter.

Opened in 1824, it soon became the final resting place of numerous personalities: the novelist Guy de Maupassant, the writer Julio Cortázar, the engineer André Citroën, the existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre, the photographer Man Ray, the actress Jean Seberg or the sculptor Auguste Bartholdi, famous for the Statue of Liberty in New York.

Walk around calmly and you will discover the different pantheons and sculptures. Obviously, the most-visited tombs are well signposted so that tourists who come here can find them easily. 

Perhaps the most outstanding sculpture, in the centre of the cemetery, is the “Eternally sleeping angel”, work of Horace Daillion in 1902. Its melancholic figure reminds the living that come to pray for the dead that someday all of us will fall asleep. Eternally.

Close to here you will find the tomb of French singer and songwriter Serge Gainsbourg, a pop icon in the 70s and 80s known for his irreverent songs.

Towards the south of the cemetery, next to Rue Emile Richard, another beautiful sculpture we would like to mention is “The Kiss”, a cubist work by the Romanian Brancusi, made in response to Rodin’s Kiss. Of course, if you need to get your bearings, to the right of this street you have the Grand Cimetière or large cemetery, and to the left, the Petit or small one.

Among the tombs you must see in your visit feature those of Charles Baudelaire, author of “The Flowers of Evil”. Here you will also see a curious monument built by the sculptor José de Charmoy.

Also spectacular is the family pantheon of Charles Pigeon. A jewel of the belle époque, where we can find the French inventor in bed, right next to his wife. All rather curious.

Another tomb of great significance is that of Alfred Dreyfuss, the Jewish officer whose unjust trial for treason caused a grand political and social scandal in 1894. You must know something about the polemical Dreyfuss case, either from a book or a film.

Our final recommendation is that you do not only go and see the tombs of the famous. Walk around its avenues calmly, you are in one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world.

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