Montmartre Cemetery

Some 3,5 years ago when I just had started my previous Paris blog I made some modest posts about the Montmartre Cemetery and some specific tombs. I will revert to this in a coming post. In the meantime, I thought I should make a more general post about this cemetery, which is one of the major ones created in the early 19th century, when it had been decided that for sanitary reasons the cemeteries should be outside the Paris centre. Actually they became part of the city again when the “villages”, like Montmartre, were incorporated 1860. The other major Paris cemeteries are the Père-Lachaise, the Montparnasse, the Batignolles and the Passy cemeteries on which I have already posted.

The Montmartre Cemetery which got its place on an old quarry opened in 1825.
One specificity is the bridge from 1888 which runs over it.
The Montmartre Cemetery is slightly smaller than the Père-Lachaise and the Montparnasse cemeteries, but holds anyhow some 20 thousand graves. The atmosphere is very similar to the Père-Lachaise one and if you like cemeteries it’s certainly worth a visit.

Here are some general views and some “details”.

I looked through the doors of some cenotaphs.
As you can guess from some of the above photos, the sky changed aspect during the afternoon I spent there. At a certain moment, there was a brief “snow storm” … too early for the season.
Also the cats like this cemetery.


Christmas Market

In my latest post I said that I will refer with a post about the Christmas Market on the Champs Elysées.

Christmas Markets was more a tradition in the eastern parts of France, influenced by the German ones, but there are a few also in Paris. Since three years, the biggest of them can be found on the Champs Elysées, extending from the Rond Point to Place de la Concorde.

I tried to take photos of what may be considered as traditional Christmas Market stands, but there are also a number of just commercial stands, selling anything.

There is of course a possibility to eat and drink, including the Vin Chaud (Glühwein, Glögg, Hot Mulled Wine…), which considering the present and expected low temperatures is quite appropriate.

There are also some installations for the kids.
I wish you a nice weekend!


Fiat lux

It was again time to illuminate the Champs Elysées. It happened last Monday evening. There was a crowd to watch a French actress (Mélanie Laurent) push the button, accompanied by the Paris mayor (Bertrand Delanoë). In competition with the professional photographers I had no chance to find the right angle. At least there are some flurry pictures to prove that I was there.
Before and after.
Sometimes the result is unexpected.
A few photos from along the Champs, the Rond Point and around…

… and from the Place de la Concorde.
On the lower part of the Champs there is a Christmas market. I will revert on that part.



There is a very different building on the Champs-Elysées, at no. 42, referred to as “C42” – the Citroën showroom. Citroën has occupied this site since 1927, with different designs. The present one, by Manuelle Gautrand (a female architect), is there since 2007.

It’s a spectacular building, as well outside…
…. as inside, worth a visit already to admire the creativity in the design.

It’s of course important for the image of Citroën in general. The purpose is however also to be a showroom and some of the past, present and future cars are presented.

The car (or one of them) used in the FIA World Rally Championships, where the Citroën driver Sebastien Loeb recently became world champion for the 7th time in a row, is also visible.
In a small shop you can buy models of all the Citroën cars, including the famous “traction-avant” (front-wheel-drive), produced 1934-57, the “deux chevaux” (two tax horsepower), produced 1948-90 and the “DS”, produced 1955-75.


Saint-Merri Church ... and the Stravinsky Fountain

When visiting the Centre Pompidou (see previous post), you would normally also have a look at the Stravinsky Fountain (see previous post), but you would possibly neglect the Saint-Merri Church behind the Fountain.
Although I already reported on the Fountain, maybe a few more pictures, as it has recently been renovated. The problem with modern sculptures, especially if they are supposed to move and threw water like these Saint Phalle – Tinguely ones, is that renovations are needed now and then.
The Saint-Merri Church - named after an abbot who died in 700, buried here, also referred to as Medericus, Méderic or Merry - was in its present form constructed in the beginning of the 16th century in a late gothic style. The bell tower, rather the campanile, contains the oldest Paris bell, from 1331!

The 1650 organ has during the centuries bee modified by some famous organ-buiders (Clocquot, Cavaillé-Coll...) and among the organists there are some famous names like Saint-Saëns.

You would believe that the stained glass windows, as in many churches, have suffered by the Revolution, but it seems that part of the stained glass was replaced by transparent glass already before the Revolution as the interior was too dark.
Not only modern sculptures, but also old churches need to be restored, which is obvious when you look around the main entrance.
Preceding the mass, there are concerts every Saturday afternoon by a choir of excellent reputation (“Académie Vocale de Paris”), which has also performed at e.g. Westminster Abbey and is booked for several NYC concerts (Saint Thomas, Saint John, Saint Patrick, Trinity…). Maybe more surprising; some of the side chapels are today used for art exhibitions.