The cimetière du Sud in Paris, more commonly known as “Cimetière du Montparnasse”, is not only a cemetery but also one of the capital’s biggest green spaces. Slightly less famous than the renound Père Lachaise cemetery, the necropolis covers an impressive 18,72 hectares with over 1 244 trees of 40 different species. The Paris municipality is committed to preserving its unique vegetation and has stopped using any pesticides there.
As someone who practices law for a living, I was amused to see that the cemetery once got a special feature in a decision of the Conseil d’Etat (Council of State). Our highest administrative court ruled therein that Constantin Brâncusi’s statue “The Kiss” – which adorns Tatiani Rachewskaia’s tomb in the cemetery – satisfied the criteria to be declared a historical monument. This status thus prevents her family from removing and selling the Romanian sculptor’s masterpiece.
The cemetery is home to many other works of art and monuments. It is also the place to meet – at least in spirit – celebrities such as Baudelaire, Simone de Beauvoir, Constantin Brâncusi himself, André Citröen, Serge Gainsbourg, Guy de Maupassant and Jean-Paul Sartre (to name just a few). Whether you are looking to take a leisurely stroll in a peaceful place or want to discover some of the most famous burial places, the cimetière du Montparnasse is the place to visit!
Pro tip: the cemetery has a map that will take you to the tombs of the most famous women who lie there.