November 02, 2007

An old cemetery

In July I made a post about the small church behind Sacré Cœur, Saint-Pierre-de-Montmartre, and mentioned the small graveyard connected to the church, the oldest in Paris and called Cimitière du Calvaire. I also mentioned that it’s open for visitors only once a year, November 1st, and I more or less promised to visit it then. I kept my promise. The gate was open.

This small cemetery is on the very top of Montmartre and was once a place where you could find pagan and Roman temples. The few remaining graves are mostly from the beginning of the 19th century and basically you find only local Montmartre people buried here, hardly anybody really widely known. One exception is perhaps L-A de Bougainville (1729-1811), who started the first settlement on the Falkland Islands, led a voyage around the world, fought in the American war of Independence, was a great mathematician… and has got islands, mountains and plants named after him*.

There is another grave that is worth some attention, that of the Debray family: I talked also about this in a previous post, but it may be good to repeat a few details:

The family owned a windmill on top of Montmartre, later to be known as the “Moulin de la Galette” - the only real mill still remaining on Montmartre (difficult to see as on private ground and hidden by trees).

The four Debray sons got killed during a fight with Russians which took place on Montmartre in 1814. (One was cut in pieces, with which the mill wings were “decorated”). They were all buried here and the mother put a small red painted miniature windmill on the top of the grave. The miniature is still there, has lost its colour, but it was the origin of the name “Moulin Rouge”.

Most of the graves are today of course abandoned, are covered with moss (see top picture) and - due to the season - a lot of leaves… In some cases you find a small symbolic flower. The surrounding walls are covered by wild vine.

On the way back home, I passed by the Montmartre vineyard, which I also have posted about, and could not avoid taking some photos of the vine plants (the grapes are gone) and also some other wild vine I found on my way.

*/Actually he got a state funeral and his ashes are now at the Pantheon together with those of many other French heroes, but his heart is still in the cave.

I wish you a nice weekend! Back on Monday!


Cuckoo said...

Have a nice weekend !!

Ash said...

Peter I just LOVE the first image. Very beautiful and evocative.

Enjoy the weekend!

Olivier said...

encore une de tes découvertes, un petit coin dans ce paradis qu'est montmartre. Je ne connaissais pas, je te souhaite un bon week-end

hpy said...

L'avant dernière photo est comme une peinture impressioniste, ce qui me rappelle que je suis venue là pour te dire que je t'ai tagué sur mon post de ce matin.

Drama Div@ said...

very nice! you have a great weekend too, Peter..

delphinium said...

Votre message est très intimiste aujourd'hui cher Peter. La découverte d'un tel endroit dans le grand Paris est une merveille pour les yeux. Je suis déjà passée plusieurs fois à Montmartre mais je ne connais pas cet endroit. Vos photos et vos histoires me donnent l'envie d'y retourner un jour. C'est marrant, la semaine passée, j'ai aussi photographié des feuilles de vigne, elles étaient magnifiques. Les vôtres aussi, quels beaux coloris. Il faut profiter pour immortaliser ces belles couleurs, le vent souffle tellement fort par ici que bientôt les arbres seront tous nus.
Je vous embrasse et vous souhaite un bon WE. A lundi

lyliane said...

Très belle promenade du souvenir, comme le disait Cocteau :"la tombe de nos êtres chers est dans nos coeurs".
Bougainvillé a donné aussi son nom à une plante méditerranéenne qui a toute une palette de couleurs, on l'apelle aussi "plante aux fleurs de papier", j'en ai une mauve dans la véranda qui est en fleurs en ce moment, vient la voir.

Annie said...

How interesting to learn about the origin of the phrase "moulin rouge". What a horrible sight it must have been to see limbs of a loved one affixed to the windmill!

The blue ball in my post yesterday keeps me from wanting to eat too much when I reflect on how I'd feel if I were so round and full and tight!

lynn said...

Ah i found the leaves. Adore the red, last one. Lovely, Peter.

Anonymous said...

Very attractive photos. I like the windmill one especially.

Peter said...

cuckoo, ash...:
Thanks and the same to you!

Tu peux y aller, mais maintenant il faut attendre l'année prochaine!

Peter said...

Les impressionistes ont bien commencé dans ce coin!

drama div@:
Thanks and the same to you!

Je crois que les photos des belles feuilles sont nombreuses en ce moment! Bon week-end!

Peter said...

Je viendrai, je viendrai... bientôt!

Thanks for the clarification. That's what I thought, but...

Happy you found the leaves and especially happy that you found my blog again!

Peter said...

Thanks for your so regular visits!

Emily Lin said...

You're a good observant that paying all small attentions to the surrounding. I'm amazed that how you bringing out the story of the graveyard. LOVE the pics of vine plants. The colors are amazing.

SusuPetal said...

History is fascinating, and so are your stories and anecdotes, Peter. Have a nice weekend!

Anonymous said...

Those graveyard statues and all things there get to stop and think, not bad at all, but your beautiful coloured last photos makes good in my mind - you know, it`s wet snow everywhere, not yet white, perhaps tomorrow :))
Have a nice weekend!

Heather said...

Wonderful photos -- I especially like that bottom leaf close-up. Merci for keeping your promise to us and visiting this historic cemetery.

Cergie said...

Faut être drôlement affuté pour tout suivre
1) j'irais l'an prochain au cimetière du calvaire, je fais un noeud ce soir à mon mouchoir pour m'en souvenir
2) ah oui, j'ai lu trois fois pour repérer que ce sont les cendres de bougainville qui st au Panthéon
Qd il y obséques nationales, les tombes st bien entretenues. C'est le cas de celle de Colette au père Lachaise. Sartre ou plutot Beauvoir les a refusées pour Sartre

Y avait longtemps que tu ne ns avais pas emmené voir un pays des allongés...

Dis donc, Peter, j'irais bien voir l'expo de l'autre Helen avec toi. On irait manger au café Branly. Qu'est ce que t'en dis ?

Peter said...

I appreciate very much what you say!

Thanks for these kind words and nice weekend to you!

I know you are looking forward to the WHITE snow... November can be a bit dull in your part of Finland.
Noce weekend also to you!

Peter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter said...

Promises are made to be kept, if possible and if you remember them!

... tu gardes le même mouchoir toute l'année?!! "Un pays d'allongés": une belle expression, bien cergoise! Je serai ravi d'aller au expo, déjeuner...!

Kate said...

Fascinating information. I cannot imagine a family losing 4 sons! I wonder why the cemetery is open one day a year only--curious. Lots of good info in your post, Petre!

Shionge said...

The colours of the leaves...:D Very very nice. Thank you for sharing this, appreciate it and have a wonderful weekend too.

lasiate said...

très belles ces feuilles de vigne! trop court le voyage dans les Andes!

ruth said...

Oh Peter, thank you. October is the time of year I especially want to be in Paris, and specifically walking in Montmartre. Whenever I get to the autumn light, I imagine walking there. This is just what I needed, although I am also a bit more homesick than I was. Still, it's sweet melancholy.

Mélisse said...

Encore un endroit dont j'ignorais complètement l'existence...
Et l'origine du nom "Moulin Rouge", brrrrr, sordide, j'imaginais quelquechose de plus léger. Je vais pouvoir faire mon intéressante dans les diners, je suis certaine que mes amis ne connaissent pas l'histoire non plus !

GMG said...

Hi Peter! Terrible week. No chance to drop by, sorry!
Now, Lima! Loved to see it again, though it's the only place where I had my wallet stolen....
Bastille and surroundings look great!
Finally, this small cemetery in Montmartre is a nice pretext for a lovely post!
I've just finished Salamanca; next will be a bit of tourist Paris, February 2006. No comparison! But I may reduce my delay on posting to only 21 months...
Have a great weekend!

Peter said...

I must admit that I don't really know why the place is open only one day per year. Perhaps one reason is that nobody has been buried here since some 150 years.

It's the season of beautiful autumn colours! In a week or a few, it will be all grey.

Le vrai voyage était trop court, c'est sur. Pour les posts et les lecteurs..., je ne sais pas.

Peter said...

Yes, I think that October and April are the best months!

Tu as visité le Moulin Rouge?

I trust you will go back to the beautiful Salamanca, so relatively close to Lisbon?

Zhang said...

Les feuilles mortes donnent une ambiance encore plus mélancolique au cimetière. C'est sans doute pour ça que le Toussaint tombe à cette saison et que le cimetière soit ouvert au public.

JoAnn - NL "My digital eyes" :) said...

Hi Peter,
Good photo's on just the right moments, the colours are beautiful, I stick by my '1 photo -at-once- is great idea' becuse ow i can see your talents (in photography) even better!
You sur have an eye for photography, the details are excellent seen/made.

Thanks for showing this cemetry-views.

have a great weekend,:)

and...'boil and egg' look at my blo and you know why I said that... haha:)

and... Thanks for you interst about my back YES! I feel ( a little) better, THANKS:)

Peter said...

Tu as peut-être raison. Au début, la célébration avait lieu au printemps.

Maybe one day I will learn to go the "one-photo" way... , but I doubt. Thanks anyhow!

Glenn Standish said...

Wow! Once again Peter you have exceeded yourself! Some great pictures! Greetings from Poland!

Neva said...

I always love visiting and seeing what you have done. I loved Montmatre when I was there. The inside was under renovation or they were fixing something but I enjoyed the walk down to the shops. I had no idea there was a cemetery so close!

pink ginger 珂琳 said...

Peter, I see peace and love in those pictures.
thank you for sharing.
(I especially like the maple leaf)

MONA said...

what an amazing post this is! Thanks for telling us the story about the origin of the word Moulin Rouge! It is a sad story, I never had any idea...

Your details supported by these wonderful visual images make one relive history!

The vineyards are amazing! & so are those grapes! YUM!!

April said...

So you have done a very nice stroll through Paris. I didn't know that there was such a small graveyard. I like them a lot and do not find them sad at all. Here we have a wonderful one, too, Melaten, I'll upload some photos later (don't know when). I love your photos very much especially because of the signs of autumn. At the moment it is very coloured here, too. But I'm sure it will be over soon.

Peter said...

Thanks and greetings from Paris!

I think you must come back!

pink ginger:
Peace and Love!

Peter said...

Thanks for these nice words! (Actually what you may have taken for grapes, are just leaves of wild vine.)

Looking forward to Melaten. Yes, if you wish pics of the autumn colours, I guess you have to hurry!

krystyna said...

Thank you, Peter!
All my best to you!

krystyna said...

Photos are amazing in large version!

Keshi said...

cemeteries r so peaceful...and I love these pics!


Peter said...

Nice to hear from you!

Nice to hear!