Serenity Now: Wandering Avenues of the Dead in Montmartre


by Michelle Locke, The Associated Press, October 14, 2015

PARIS (AP) — Just around the corner, it's a typical Parisian rush hour with bumper-to-bumper cars honking their way down the Boulevard de Clichy past garish shop fronts and the blazing red sails of the Moulin Rouge.

But here in the Montmartre cemetery the only sound is the trill of birds as they flit through the shady trees lining the avenues of the dead.

It doesn't get much more serene than this.

This is not the cemetery where The Doors' lead singer Jim Morrison is buried; that's Pere Lachaise. But it is the final resting place of several painters, composers, writers and other artists, testament to Montmartre's Bohemian past.

A map to the most famous graves is available online, . Click the last entry, "Map of Montmartre Cemetery (English)," to get the document.

Some of the cemetery's most famous residents include composers Hector Berlioz ("Symphonie Fantastique") and Jacques Offenbach ("The Tales of Hoffman"). Dancer Rudolf Nijinsky is here as is Edgar Degas, famous for his paintings of ballet dancers. Also: Adolphe Sax, inventor of the saxophone.

In a neat little bit of literary history, you can find the grave of Alexandre Dumas, who wrote "The Three Musketeers," as well as the grave of Alphonsine Plessis, the courtesan who was the inspiration for Dumas' "La Dame Aux Camelias." The tragic story laid the foundations for the opera "La Traviata," and the movie "Camille."

And if you don't feel like tracking down graves, this is also a perfectly good place to simply wander, investigating memorials that catch your eye, like the full-size statute of a man atop the grave of Jean Bauchet. Not a household name, but he was a manager of the Moulin Rouge, the famous cabaret, just a short walk away.

Walking back to Boulevard Clichy from the cemetery entrance you will find Corcoran's Irish Pub, It's a good place to toast the ghosts of Montmartre.


If You Go...

MONTMARTRE CEMETERY: 20 avenue Rachel, Paris; Open daily. Free. Metro stop: Place de Clichy.


This article was written by Michelle Locke from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.