I am a recent convert to cemetery visits… I caught the ‘bug’ from my taphophile amie, Mary Gilbert (a.k.a.: MadAboutParis), who describes cemeteries as open air museums. When I chose these photographs to share with you, I asked Mary if she would share her expertise on the subject.
“Not only are they filled with compelling architecture, sculpture, mosaic and stained glass – there is also a wealth of historic and genealogic information at your fingertips. In Paris, there is very little religious or ethnic segregation in cemeteries – they are perfect villages frozen in stone.
If you want to take ‘baby steps’ with this new pursuit, I’d recommend that you start with Passy Cemetery in the 16th arrondissement. It’s petite (you can cover it in 30 minutes) and it’s well-located – in fact, you may have already walked past it without even knowing. Be sure to pick up the map at the office at the entrance and see how many famous names that you recognise.
I recommend bringing a notepad so that you can jot down names and research them when you get home; or take my lead and use your camera like a notepad. Enjoy your visit to this quiet and serene oasis in the shadow of the Tour Eiffel. But be careful, you just might catch the ‘bug’ and end up visiting all the other Parisian cemeteries: Montparnasse, Montmartre, Père-Lachaise, St. Vincent, Picpus or even the pet cemetery (final resting place of Rin-Tin-Tin) near La Defense.” said Mary.
Image credits: All images ©Virginia Jones.
1. These bare tree branches framed this statuary just perfectly. The Parisian blue sky proved a much appreciated backdrop.
2. The Angel (l’ange)
3. Door handle detail
4. Just as we arrived that morning, the rain stopped and the sun came out. The moisture on the glass and the vibrant pink blossoms took my breath.
5. These porcelain flowers, wreaths and crosses adorn many graves in Paris. I think the more they are exposed to the weather, the more beautiful they become.
6. This stained glass window was still vibrant against the pale ironwork door.
8. This unusual sculpture marking the grave of Adélaïde de Boisserée, was done by her husband, artist Georges Mathieu.