Cementerys of Montmartre

The scandal caused when the wall of the Cemetery des Innocents collapsed in 1785, had the authorities ordere all future cemeteries to be built outside of Paris!

There are three cemeteries on the Butte of Montmartre, each one interesting in its own way : the cemetery of Montmartre is the most famous.

It was built in the hollow of an ancient gypsum quarry, and opened in 1825. Its originality comes from its picturesque and romantic appearance: a valley framed by three hills, shadowy avenues lined with trees, a plethora of leafy glades, gardens and ruined chapels… The cemetery is home not only to priceless works from artists such as Rodin, Bartholdi, David d’Angers and Rude, but also the tombs of many leading figures from the arts world, such as Berlioz, Offenbach, Theophile Gautier, Alexandre Dumas, Alfred de Vigny, Stendhal and Degas, and many others. Recent burials include those of Louis Jouvet, Sacha Guitry, Dalida and Jean-Claude Brialy.

The cemetery of St Vincent – smaller but no less endearing – is also worth a look. Built in 1831 alongside the vines of Montmartre, it has 920 plots held in perpetuity. In this cemetery important families lie alongside Montmartre personalities such as Maurice Utrillo, Steinlen and Marcel Aymé.

The third cemetery, known as du Calvaire, was opened in 1688 on land belonging to the Montmartre Benedictines and shut down in 1823. It is the smallest of the three with only 85 plots. Owned by the City of Paris, the cemetery is only open to the public once a year, on All Saints’ Day.