Père-Lachaise may be the super star cemetery of Paris in terms of notoriety and also as one of the most visited tourist attractions, but other cemeteries in Paris hold their own.
Montmartre Cemetery has its own share of great Parisians to be proud of: François Truffaut, Gustave Moreau, Degas, Fragonard, Hector Berlioz, Francis Picabia, Sacha Guitry, and American singer Carol Fredericks. Topping the list is legendary singer Dalida, one of the most beloved entertainers in Europe and the Middle East, selling more than 150 million records. She sadly committed suicide at the age of 54 in 1987 at the pinnacle of her career. Her elaborate tombstone contains a gray marble arch with a full-length statue of her posing in front.
Built on the remains of a gypsum mine, Montmartre Cemetery was opened in 1825. Due to the overcrowding of cemeteries in Paris and the ill health effects they caused, the city of Paris forbade the building of new cemeteries in the late 1700s. At that time, Montmartre was not part of Paris, and was officially incorporated in the arrondissement system during the Haussmann period in the 1860s.
I recently visited Montmartre Cemetery on a cool, sunny day, strolling through the alleyways of graves dotted with cedar, maple and chestnut trees laid bare. A blanket of thick green moss covered many of the tombstones and pots of mums were placed alongside but overturned by the strong winds. I captured the sun streaming through the delicate cobwebs inside the family chapels with stained glass in the background.
Spending time in the calming and peaceful Montmartre Cemetery was a perfect break from my sometimes hectic Paris life.
20 Avenue Rachel, 75018. Metro: Blanche or La Fourche