Bewitching graves of famous artists in Paris

  • 04, Oct 2019
  • Theatre in Paris exclusives
  • Jocelyn Wensjoe

Who says graveyards have to be dreary? Paris keeping up with its reputation as a city of culture bursting with some of the most artistic museums contains a variety of classic and contemporary art pieces. It’s no secret that centuries ago it welcomed many of the best poets and playwriters in history. Were you aware that when these artistic figures passed away, they were buried here? Not too far from most touristic districts. There are various beautifully adorned and well-maintained cemeteries in the city that make for a great visit and gothic themed photographs. Looked at as open-air museums most of these burial grounds get a total of one million visitors annually, admiring and decorating with flowers the tombs of famous writers, singers, and actors from previous centuries considering entry is free. Theatre in Paris will give you an insight into the best graveyards to head over to where acclaimed playwriters, dancers, and composers are buried and their greatest accomplishments during their time. 

Pere Lachaise Cemetery

Pere Lachaise Cemetery 

Among many in Paris, Pere Lachaise is the most prestigious cemetery in the city with a few of the utmost iconic graveyards visited in the world. Some people come to Paris just to head over to Lachaise just to pay respect to their favorite poet or writer’s tomb. Inside there is an estimated amount of 300,000 to 1,000,000 people buried and 10 or more of them are well known applauded celebrities. The cemetery is stretched to an estimated amount of 110 acres, some people are not capable of walking around the whole terrain though it’s worth trying because there are astounding structured tombs stones that tell the story of the diseased or at least part of it. Located in the center of Paris in the 20th arrondissement, this graveyard holds the greatest number of distinguished individuals and they aren’t all French, for example, Frederic Chopin who is Polish and Jim Morrison who is American. The famed French whose graveyards are within the property of Pere Lachaise includes Jean- Baptiste Poquelin also known as Molière, Edith Piaf, and Gioacchino Antonio Rossini. Molière born in France achieved fame with his notable comedy playwrights and was known to be a good actor as well. Molière gave his life to theatre until he died at the age of 51, and until this day he is recognized as the most prestigious writer who created a new style of humorous plays. Some of his glorious work are The Mister, Dom Juan, and The Tartuffe. Two of his most recognized plays are currently playing in Paris for a short period of time. Edith Piaf was a proud Parisian known nowadays as France’s well- known singer/ actor. She was so loved that she went viral and became internationally famous, there were even a movie and a play written about her life. Anguished from many calamities such as her mother abandoning her, her child’s death due to meningitis, and the loss of her lover in a plane crash made her songs come alive, letting her express her tragedy. One of her most famous songs, still being played in many places is La Vie En Rose. Last in the list is not French but he lived and died in Paris. Italian composer Gioacchino Antonio Rossini has a tomb in Pere Lachaise, his body was then transported back to Italy nine years after his death, but his grave still lies in Lachaise. Il Barbiere Di Siviglia is one of his brilliant Opera works that include his remarkable composition. 

Cemetery of Batignolles

Cemetery of Batignolles 

A hidden gem neglected by locals and tourists is the Cemetery of Batignolles contains a quieter scene. Not a lot of people visit this place, but its also because they are not aware of who is buried there. One of the best poets in history, Paul Verlaine. Paul Verlaine experienced a fascinating life and is remembered for his adventure with Arthur Rimbaud another brilliant poet. Paul Verlaine admired adolescent Arthur Rimbaud’s vivid mind and his passion for living a rebellious life, unexpectedly he fell in love with Rimbaud. Together they lived a bohemian life, Paul left his old life behind including his wife to follow Rimbaud and experience something new. During their journey, they both wrote memorable poems that are cherished today and inspire individuals all over. Arthur Rimbaud’s body can also be found in France in Charleville- Mézières cemetery near Lille and Reims, France. These poets’ lives became an interest to the public, breaking down all conventional walls which is why a story was written about them. Their story was later turned into a playwright “Rimbaud Verlaine”. Cemetery of Batignolles is the third-largest cemetery in Paris, but many locals and tourists avoid the premises as a result of the busy street constructed next to the graveyard. Adoring its surroundings Batignolles has beautiful chestnut trees and similar to Pere Lachaise it too has interesting gravestones and sculptures that tell a story or represent the diseased. The fact that it is not crowded with a lot of people makes it the perfect place to visit if you are looking to praise admired writers in peace. 

Watch the climatic lives of Rimbaud Verlaine

Montparnasse cemetery

Montparnasse cemetery

47 acres long located in the 14th arrondissement, Montparnasse cemetery is the second largest cemetery in Paris. Once entering the locale, you may wonder what a flour mill tower is doing in the middle of the graveyard, named a historical artifact this windmill used to belong to one of the three farms the cemetery bought off to possess the land to create more burial space. This graveyard was established in 1824 along with other graveyards such as Passy cemetery located on the west side of the city and Pere Lachaise located on the east side of the city, while Montparnasse is located on the south which is why it was previously named south cemetery. Many famed movie makers, actors, painters, and writers are buried here. Two names you might recall are Guy de Maupassant the French writer and journalist from the 1800s and Eugene Ionesco the appraised existential play writer. Ionesco wrote The Bald Soprano, a play written in the 1950s about how lost society is and can still be relatable to how it is nowadays. It focuses mainly on Mr. and Mrs. Martin two people who don’t remember each other although they spend time together on a day to day basis and in one scene of the act as the lights go out the same thing happens to these other married couples the Smiths and the story is repeated as if they were living in a paradox. Anther complex play that will make you really think about life is The Lesson which is the longest continually performing show in the history of Paris. The Lesson is about a timid teacher and a very confident student, but as the play goes on the roles change. The student starts to become more dependable while the teachers becomes bolder and outspoken. A very twisted yet entertaining narrative with a surprising outcome. 

Sainte Eustache church

Sainte Eustache church  

Sainte Eustache church happens to be the third oldest church in the city of Paris inaugurated in 1532 and went through some construction work to expand the building until 1633. If you want to visit a gothic church with beautiful glass stained windows and peculiar gargoyles perfectly designed to give you goosebumps then we recommend you visit Sainte Eustache. The church is located in the 1st arrondissement in a very touristic area in Chatelet. No, it is not a graveyard, but it does hold some of the most brilliant writers in France including Jean Phillipe Rameau and Marivaux. Rameau is considered one of the best French composers who created the theory of classical harmony. Rameau’s first and finest opera piece, Les Indes Galantes is based on the perception of what is civilization in the eyes of Europeans. This piece consists of choreographed dances and opera singers. The orchestra being pushed to their limits demonstrates to audience members what it is that Rameau was trying to illustrate within his story, beautifully played and not easy to imitate. Different dance combinations are combined in the play from krump, to hip- hop, and even break dancing to emphasize power and rage in some of the scenes. The second famous artist in our list who is also entombed within the walls of Sainte Eustache is Pierre Carlet de Chamblain de Marivaux, but most know him by his famous modern-day play Successful Strategies, L’heureux Stratageme in French. Marivaux was a French writer who has written about forty plays throughout his lifetime, he was a lover of all things theatre. Which brings us back to one of many of his famous plays, Successful Strategies. The background story deals with a man being the Marquise who pushes away his love the Countess with his lack of affection. The Countess, looking for attention falls for the Knight and soon as the Marquise finds out about this, he realizes he had lost someone truly valuable to him. His jealousy leads him to come up with a vile plan that can possibly hurt the ones around him, but he does not care as long as he retrieves the love of the Countess. You will find yourself entertained and immersed in the dramatic comedy.

Want more hidden secrets of Paris?

* indicates required
Welcome to Paris, tell us more about yourself
By signing up you agree to our Privacy Policy.