The "I See Dead People (and Pets)" Tour of Paris

Famous Last Resting Places of People their Pets

Author: The Traveling Professor/Wednesday, January 17, 2018/Categories: Paris

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Catacombs
Located near the Denfert-Rochereau métro station is as off-beat as can be.  When the cemeteries of central Paris became overcrowded and unsanitary in the 1700’s, they carted off the remains of over six million skeletons and placed them in this underground ossuary.  Bring a flashlight and watch your head.  They will check to make sure you didn’t take along any “souvenirs” upon exiting the Catacombs.  There is an admission charge  not covered by the Museum Pass.  Website: www.catacombes-de-paris.fr.

Cimetière des Chiens  
Located northwest on the Seine at 4 Pont de Clichy, Paris’s Le Cimetière des Chiens et Autres Animaux Domestiques (Cemetery of Dogs and Other Domestic Animals) is the oldest pet cemetery in the world. It’s Cimetiere du Pere Lachaise of pet cemeteries. Founded in 1899 by lawyer Georges Harmois and journalist Marguerite Durand, here you’ll find the graves of dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, mice, hamsters, horses, monkeys, turtles, fish, sheep, foxes, and even one shark. Canine movie star (and World War I hero) Rin Tin Tin and Marguerite Durand’s own pet lion, named Tiger, are also buried here.

Tip: There is a small entrance fee, but it’s worth every penny. Keep your eyes peeled for the massive but shapely Art Nouveau entrance by Eugene Petit. A well-worn dirt path will lead you through a maze of moss-covered tombstones, urns, and sculptures. You’ll also spot toys, food dishes, photographs, and love letters. If it’s a quiet day, you’ll be able to hear the gurgling of the river passing by, while witnessing such heartfelt gestures. Its resulting beauty both soothes and re-energizes my spirits every time. 

Montmartre Cemetery
The third largest cemetery (behind Pere Lachaise and Montparnasse), it is the best and prettiest cemetery.  It is small and easy to navigate and much less crowded than Pere Lachaise.  On permanent vacation here are Adolph Sax (inventor of the saxaphone), the painter Degas, the celebrated dancer Nijinski, and the inventor of the can-can, Louise Weber.


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