Montparnasse Cemetery

Right at the heart of Paris, between Montparnasse station and the Luxembourg Garden, Montparnasse Cemetery is close by the Aiglon Hotel.

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cimetière de montparnasse

Opened in 1824, Montparnasse Cemetery is the second biggest necropolis in Paris, after Père-Lachaise, and contains the tombs of a large number of contemporary artists.

The history of Montparnasse Cemetery

Opened in the early 19th century in the south of Paris, at the same time as Montmartre Cemetery and Père-Lachaise, Montparnasse Cemetery has a surface area of 19 hectares. It replaced the Vaugirard and Sainte-Catherine cemeteries, which today no longer exist. The site was originally occupied by three farms, before being the cemetery for the order of Saint-Jean-de-Dieu in the 17th century.

 

Here can still be seen the tower of one of the Montparnasse quarter’s windmills, known as the windmill of La Charité, which has been listed as a historic monument since 1931. The cemetery is also one of the biggest green spaces in the capital, with 1 200 trees of several different kinds, such as pagoda trees, lime, thujas and ash trees.

Famous tombs

Close by the Aiglon Hotel, Montparnasse Cemetery is the resting place of a large number of contemporary artists who lived in the district. This green, tree-lined setting produces an almost poetic and romantic atmosphere, with its tombs and priceless works of art. Suffused with peace and quiet, it is one of the few Parisian sights where visitors feel they are far from the city. Each year, thousands of visitors come to the cemetery, in search of the tombs of famous personalities from France and abroad.

 

Among the 34 000 tombs to be seen in the cemetery are the graves of famous people from past and present, such as the director of War of the ButtonsYves Robert, the poet Charles Baudelaire, the legendary couple Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, the authors Marguerite DurasGuy de Maupassant and Emmanuel Bove, or the singer Serge Gainsbourg. Some graves have become pilgrimage sites, and at each visit, fans leave poems on the grave of Baudelaire or packets of cigarettes on Serge Gainsbourg’s. 

 

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