Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris
Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris. (Photo by Myrabella)

The Cimetière du Montparnasse in Paris

Literary fans take note: here lie Baudelaire (in Division 6), Guy de Maupassant (in Division 26), American author and activist Susan Sontag (in Division 2), playwright Eugéne Ionesco (in Division 6), and Samuel Beckett (an Irishman with a live-long love affair with Paris who was buried here in a secret ceremony in 1989; in Division 12).

Long-time lovers Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir are buried together under a single slab (in Division 20).

Keeping all of those literary lights company are the likes of composer Saint-Saëns (who wrote Carnival of the Animals; in Division 13), and Andre Citroën (the car guy; in Division 28).

The grave of Alfred Dreyfus

There are also a number of Jewish graves, including that of Alfred Dreyfus, falsely accused of treason and espinoage in 1894 in what became known as the infamous "Dreyfus Affair."

After a shameful and scandalous cover-up (in which the army realized it had accused the wrong man and silenced the real culprit by exiling him to desert service, but all the while kept Dreyfus imprisoned on the hellish Devil's Island), the French government was pressed to make things right.

Dreyfus was—eventually—not only found innocent and released from prison, but also reinstated in the army with a promotion. Dreyfus when on to volunteer for active duty again in World War I, and was eventually granted the Legion of Honour.

Upon his death in 1935, 29 years after being exonerated, the body of Alfred Dreyfus was paraded through the streets of Paris lined—coincidentally, but touchingly—with thousands upon thousands of French troops ranked to celebrate Bastille Day.

The Brancusi Kiss

The Montparnasse Cemetery is also home to the most famous example of Brancusi's oft-revisited Cubist sculpture Le Baiser ("The Kiss"), a pair of lovers fusing into one, lips attached, arms wrapped around each other, feet intertwined.

The sculpture decorates the grave of Tania Rachevskaia, a friend of the Romanian sculptor who reportedly committed suicide over love. You can find it in division 22, section 22.

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The grave of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir in Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris
The shared tomb of the ur-existentialist couple—the writer writer John-Paul Sartre (1905–1980) and his long-time companion, the feminist theorist Simone de Beauvoir (1908–1986)—in Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris. (Photo by Andrea Schaffer)

Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beavoir

 

 

The grave of Alfred Dreyfus in Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris
The tomb of Lt. Colonel Alfred Dreyfus (1859–1935) and his family in Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris. (Photo by Mu)

Alfred Dreyfus