Montmartre Cemetery , Paris

On my recent trip to Paris we decided to visit Montmartre cemetery, it may not be as well known as Pere LaChaise but we were in the area and thought it worthy of a look in. 

History of Cimetière de Montmartre

Due to overcrowding in the other cemeteries in the middle of Paris – burials were becoming an issue. It was immensely expensive for funeral costs, and there was a ban on citizens burying people within the city limits. 

So in 1825 in the north of the city, in the area of Montmartre they opened the cemetery, prior to that it was used as a gypsum quarry. The quarry had previously been used during the French Revolution as a mass grave. It was built below street level and even today, the entrance gates are below the main street. 

Initially when you walk in you are struck by the sheer size and the amount of tombstone you can see. There are around 20,000 burial plots and some of the monuments and vaults are huge and very elaborate.

There are a few famous and well known people buried in this cemetery. Such as impressionist painter – Edgar Degas, novelist of The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas, and the inventor of the famous Can-Can dance, Louise Weber. 

It is also of significance to those with an interest in the French Revolution, the Royal executioner Charles Henri Sanson is buried there. He executed King Louis XVI in 1793. It was alleged that he executed around 3000 people throughout his “career”. 

Alongside the tombstones, there are many stray cats that have made the graveyard their home. When we visited we saw a fair few, and pleasantly there were locals who were feeding them

Entrance is free, and accessed down the stairs underneath the iron bridge. It is open daily from 9-6. As you enter you will see a large notice board next to the public bathrooms. The notice board does have a map and locations of some of the well known burials. 

Location: Underneath Rue Caulaincourt.