There is nothing strange in spending a day walking around cemeteries in Paris. Most of the Parisian cemeteries are more like real open-air museums with several million visitors a year. That is also the case with the Montparnasse cemetery. Opened in 1824, this cemetery is the second largest necropolis in the French capital, just after the worldwide famous Père Lachaise cemetery. Many famous personalities are interred here, such as a poet Charles Baudelaire, a philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre or even an architect Charles Garnier. The Montparnasse cemetery is a really peaceful place in the middle of one of the most vivid parts of Paris.
The Montparnasse cemetery was created in the south of Paris at the beginning of the 19th century, and the first burial took place in July 1824. The site of the cemetery was built on the grounds of three old farms, and you can still see its remains. The Tour du Moulin de la Charité was one of the many flour mills in Paris, that is located today at the Montparnasse cemetery. This mill was listed as a historical monument since November 1931. After the events of 1870 and 1871, two important memorial monuments were erected at this cemetery. The first monument is dedicated to the dead in the Franco-Prussian War in 1870 and the second to the communards dead in May 1871. Here, you can see some famous works of the funerary art, such as "The Kiss" made by a sculptor Constantin Brancusi. This cemetery is also a very vast and important Parisian green space with some 1,200 trees of 40 different species.
The Montparnasse cemetery is a place where many famous French intellectuals and artists were buried. There is also a monument to the Parisian policemen and firemen killed on duty. But some of the most famous and most visited graves are those of a poet Charles Baudelaire, a writer Guy de Maupassant, philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, singer Serge Gainsbourg and even a satirical cartoonist Georges Wolinski, who was murdered during the Charlie Hebdo attack in January 2015. At the entrance of the Montparnasse cemetery, you can get a list indicating the position of the most famous graves.
The Montparnasse cemetery is open every day from 8 am to 5:30 pm from November to mid-March, and from 8 am to 6 pm from mid-March to October. The entrance to the cemetery is free of charge. You can prepare your visit to the Montparnasse cemetery by downloading its map, or you can demand at the entrance a list indicating the position of the most visited graves.
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