Montmartre Cemetery – Paris's Third Largest Necropolis

Cimetière de Montmartre

The Montmartre Cemetery is the third largest necropolis in Paris, after Père-Lachaise and Montparnasse. The site is a must-see for history and art enthusiasts as it has many impressive graves of artists and notable figures who lived and worked in the Montmartre neighborhood. In a beautiful setting close to Sacré-Coeur Basilica, the cemetery has plenty of trees and is ideal for walking.

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Horace Vernet, Edgar Degas, Stendhal, Francois Truffaut, Jacques Offenbach, Émile Zola, Gustave Moreau, Hector Berlioz, Alexandre Dumas-fils, and even Dalida, whose grave has the most flowers, are among the famous people buried in the 11-hectare (27-acre) cemetery.

Before visiting the Montmartre Cemetery in Paris, I was only aware of one artist buried there: Dalida, a French-Italian singer born in Egypt to Italian parents. I stood next to her grave, and quietly sang Parole Parole, a famous song for she was well known. Overall, the Montmartre Cemetery pleasantly surprised me with its unique, sometimes bizarre gravestones and numerous stray cats roaming around.

Stray cat
A stray cat at the cemetery

When in European cities, I enjoy visiting their historical cemeteries. For me, an old cemetery is a part of the country's culture and an open-air museum of its history.

Montmartre Cemetery's 10 Famous Graves

1. Dalida

Montmartre Cemetery
A spectacular statue decorates pop singer Dalida's tomb

2. Guy Pitchal

Montmartre Cemetery
The tomb of Dr. Guy Pitchal, a psychoanalyst

3. Daniel Iffla

Montmartre Cemetery
The tomb of Daniel Iffla, a Jewish financier, with a bronze reproduction of Michelangelo's statue Moses

4. Vaslav Nijinsky

Montmartre Cemetery
The statue of Polish ballet dancer Vaslav Nijinsky's tomb depicts Nijinsky as the puppet Petrouchka

5. Jean Bauchet

Montmartre Cemetery
The naked figure of Jean Bauchet, one-time owner of Le Moulin Rouge, sits on his grave

6. Joseph Samson

Montmartre Cemetery
The tomb of Joseph Samson, a French actor

7. Émile Zola

Montmartre Cemetery
French novelist Émile Zola's gravestone; his remains are now interred in the Panthéon

8. Théodore Champion

Montmartre Cemetery
The tomb of Théodore Champion, a Swiss cyclist

9.  Alexandre Dumas fils

Montmartre Cemetery
The tomb of Alexandre Dumas fils, a French author

10. Jean-Baptiste Greuze

Montmartre Cemetery
The tomb of Jean-Baptiste Greuze, a French painter

The Cemetery's Brief History

By the mid-18th century, overcrowding in Paris cemeteries had caused numerous issues, ranging from prohibitively high funeral costs to filthy living conditions in the surrounding neighborhoods. Parisians could not bury bodies within the city in the 1780s.

The early 19th century saw the construction of new cemeteries outside the capital's precincts, including Montmartre in the north, Père Lachaise in the east, Passy Cemetery in the west, and Montparnasse Cemetery in the south.

A historical monument, the Montmartre Cemetery (officially the Cimitière du Nord) opened in 1825 on the site of a former quarry. The 1880s Caulaincourt Bridge allows a road to cross the cemetery. There are 20,000 burial plots in the graveyard.

How to Get There

Access via Avenue Rachel. A stairway leads down from Rue Caulaincourt to the entrance. Except in rare cases, the cemetery is open every day of the year. You will need at least half a day to explore the area. Free entry.

Address: 20 Av. Rachel, 75018 Paris, France

By Public Transportation:

Clichy - Caulaincourt bus stop (line 80).
Place de Clichy metro station (lines 2, 13).

Where to Stay in Paris

Planning a trip to Paris and not sure where to stay? I recommend, a well-designed website that offers everything from small B&Bs to large hotel chains, vacation rentals, and homestays.

Best Montmartre Tours

Take the 3-hour Montmartre Cheese, Wine, and Pastry Tour to experience the atmosphere of Montmartre, meet some of Paris' most passionate food artisans, and sample their fresh cheeses, charcuterie, wine, pastries, and chocolate. If you want to explore Montmartre, which inspired artists such as Picasso, Dalí, and Van Gogh, with a guide, and see iconic Sacré-Coeur Basilica and Moulin Rouge, take the 2-hour Montmartre District Walking Tour.

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Have you visited Montmartre Cemetery? Do you enjoy visiting historical cemeteries in Europe? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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