|Cimetière Montparnasse, Paris
Although Père-Lachaise is the largest and best known cemetery in Paris, there are others that are equally interesting. Montmartre Cemetery is one, and the Montparnasse Cemetery (also called the Southern Cemetery) is another well worth a visit.
I first saw the Cimetière Montparnasse from the top of the Tour Montparnasse, and I immediately decided to visit.
Pick up a free map at the entrance, on Boulevard Edgar Quinet. Like other Paris cemeteries, Montparnasse is laid out in numbered divisions. The map indicates each famous tomb by a specific number within a division. For instance, writer Samuel Becket is number 5 in Division 12, while flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal is number 2 in Division 3. You sometimes have to look for a while to find a specific tomb, since there are many people buried here.
Here are some of the famous people buried in the Cimetière Montparnasse:
—Iranian Prime Minister Chapour Bakhtiar
—Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, sculptor of the Statue of Liberty
—Poet Charles Baudelaire (tomb and cenotaph)
—Philosophers/authors Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre
—Writer Samuel Becket
—Aristide Boucicaut, founder of the Bon Marché store
—Sculptor Constantin Brancusi
—Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, famous 19th century organ builder
—Sculptor Cesar (Baldaccini)
—Industrialist André Citroën, of automotive fame
—Porfirio Diaz, President of Mexico
—Captain Alfred Dreyfus, described as "rehabilitated victim"
—Marguerite Duras, writer
—Composer and organist César Franck
—Architect Charles Garnier, designer of the Paris Opéra
—Writer Eugène Ionesco
—Kiki, singer and actress, called the "Queen of Montparnasse"
—Writer Guy de Maupassant
—Edgar Quinet, historian, for whom the street is named
—Flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal
—Surrealist painter/photographer Man Ray
—Camille Saint-Saëns, composer and musician
—Actress Jean Seberg
—Susan Sontag, author and photographer
—Dadaist poet Tristan Tzara
As you visit, you may see people tending graves, or you may even come upon a burial. Remember that while the Cimetière Montparnasse is a beautiful park, it is also a a cemetery that is still in use. The map reminds visitors, "You are entering a cemetery. Out of respect for the dead, their loved ones, and other visitors, please do not disturb the tranquility of the cemetery."