Paris,12 April 2012

Paris in the Spring has a lot to recommend it. I’m staying in Montparnasse, a district to the south of the Seine. It is full of boutiques, cafes and theatres. The cemetery is packed full of the dead famous and not so famous but rich. The grave of Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir is suitably spartan. Visitors here leave behind their metro ticket held down with a small pebble.

The grave of Serge Gainsbourg is an altogether more riotous affair. There are lots of trinkets left on the stone or hanging from some suitably disreputable bushes growing at the rear. The inevitable portraits of the man are there also.

This is not an overtly religious place, though the majority of the gravestones, sarcophagi and sculptures have some religious symbol. These hands, for example, are beautifully sculptured, though they clasp a cross. The occupant is Robert Thibier.


The other notable that we witnessed, was Bernard Lacoste whose stone is relatively simple, with a little bit of greenery. A photo of the man adorns the headstone, as well as the company logo, the instantly recognisable crocodile. Nice bit of marketing.

A full list of the famous housed is available at the entrance to the cemetery.

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