Friday, September 08, 2006

Montparnasse Cemetary, Paris

The Paris area Montparnasse is quite lively with restaurants, theaters, cinema and other activities to draw a wide variety of people into the neighborhood. This late afternoon, however, I decided to visit a part of Montparnasse that is quite the opposite and quite literally dead.

The Cemetary of Montparnasse was established in 1824 from three farms outside and to the south of Paris. Since that time, Paris has grown and the boundaries have overcome and passed the cemetery. Other cemeteries are found in Paris such as Père Lachaise in the northeast of Paris which is larger and perhaps more known to Americans.

Cemetery Montparnasse is the final resting place of many of the world's intellectual and artistic elite such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Simon de Beauvoir, Samuel Beckett, Serge Gainsbourg, Susan Sontag, Antoine Bourdelle and many others. The many tombs, both old and new are facinating and in the late afternoon light took on a depth that lead to some interesting photographs.

There were other people visiting the Cemetery elderly people, caretakers of children and their young, tourists and those just seeking solitude among the tombs.

Marble and granite were predominate with many large family burial places. Often flowers both real and artificial were left. To me, the statues were the most interesting.

Guards signal the closure of the cemetery by using police whistles as they walk along the main paths.
When I heard the whistles fifteen minutes before the official closure at 6pm, I walked to the nearest exit but found the gates already closed by lock and key. I found a guard and we discussed the beauty of the cemetary as he walked with me to an open gate.

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Anonymous Patricia said...

J'aime beaucoup les photos, un peu surréalistes et inquiétantes, certainement en adéquation avec l'atmosphère du cimetière. Je n'aurais pas été rassurée de risquer d'être enfermée là pour la nuit...

Tue Sep 12, 08:31:00 PM GMT+2  
Blogger Just Me in Paris said...

Oui, je me suis inquiété quand j'ai vu que la porte a été fermé en clé. Les murs ne sont pas très haut mais quand même... En fait, à la cimetaire Père Lachaise, ils ont mit du fer barbelé sur les murs. Bien sûr que j'ai bien regardé ma montre quand j'y suis allé dimanche après midi.

Wed Sep 13, 09:04:00 PM GMT+2  

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