I’ll never stop delighting in the layers of Paris, and how after almost 7 years I can still discover new spaces.
One of the latest is a little cemetery that most people, including locals, pass by without noticing. If you’ve ever been to Montmartre and looked at the quaint cottage cabaret of Au Lapin Agile, you’ve unintentionally turned your back on the Saint Vincent Cemetery.
Behind a tall stone wall, insulated from a quotidien barage of travelers and tour groups, rests this lovely example of a French burial ground. It was opened in 1831, the year The Hunchback of Notre Dame started hitting bookshelves, and though it doesn’t boast many big celebrity tombs, you can find some key characters from the history of Montmartre.
What I enjoyed most that day were the leaves and how they weaved in and among the tombs. It felt like the perfect embodiment of November.
You’ll find quite a range of tombs, both beautiful and slightly bizarre.
Why not a bit of funerary nudity? This is Europe after all.
Probably the most famous resident of Saint Vincent is the 20th century painter Utrillo. He was a prolific painter in the area, and a while back I did a fun comparison of his paintings with modern day scenes of Montmartre. Here is his final resting place, with a rather lovely classical statue keeping watch. In this case she’s only half topless. Because she’s classy.
Also as one tends to do, I snuck a peek inside some of the open chapel structures.
I spent more time than planned in this cemetery, and during that time I saw not one single person enter. So next time you find yourself near Au Lapin Agile and the vineyard of Montmartre, descend down the hill just one more block and treat yourself to a bit of private meditation inside one of Paris’ best-kept secrets.