Petit Cimetiere du Calvaire, the oldest cemetery in Paris

Petit Cimetiere du Calvaire in Montmartre - Sacre-Coeur in the background
Sacre-Coeur in the background

Le Cimetiere du Calvaire is attached to the Eglise Saint-Pierre de Montmartre, the church of the former Abbaye de Montmartre.

Open in 1688, it is the oldest and smallest cemetery in Paris.

The abbey was destroyed at the French Revolution with the exception of the church; the cemetery was trashed, but re-opened in 1801, as it was the only cemetery in Montmartre.

The Cimetière Saint-Vincent eventually replaced it in 1831.

Le Petit Cimetiere du Calvaire opens only on 1st November – All Saints Day and on Heritage Days in September.

In 1980, the Italian sculptor Tommaso Gismondi created its superb bronze gate.

A tiny cemetery with 65 graves

Petit Cimetiere du Calvaire in Montmartre - Debray family vault with a model windmill
Debray family vault with a model windmill

The tiny cemetery contains 85 graves and a common grave where the soldiers, who fell in 1814 while defending Paris against the Cossack at the end of the Napoleonic Empire, were buried.

The only people who can still be buried there are the descendants of the families who already own a family vault.

These include the sculptor Pigalle and the Duc de Crillon, whose mansion became one of the most luxurious hotels of Paris.

Count Louis-Antoine de Bougainville is not buried there, but his heart was placed in an urn buried in his family vault.

The admiral and renowned explorer and botanist left his name to a shrub (bougainvilleas) he brought back from his voyages.

Petit Cimetiere du Calvaire in Montmartre - Bronze gate by Gismondi
Bronze gate by Gismondi

A tiny windmill tops the family vault of the Debray’s, the millers who operated the 30 windmills of the Abbey of Montmartre from the 14th century to the French Revolution.

The four Debray brothers died in 1814 while defending Montmartre against the Cossack.

One of their sons, however, survived his injuries and transformed one of the two windmills that escaped destruction in a ballroom.

This windmill became known as Le Moulin de la Galette because of the rye bread cakes or galettes served in the premises.

Directions: 18th District
Metro: Anvers on Line 2
Coordinates: Lat 48.886817 – Long 2.341808

Discover more on Montmartre

Montmartre Village Place du TertreSaint-Pierre-de-Montmartre ChurchSaint-Jean-de-Montmartre ChurchSacre-Coeur BasilicaMontmartre Abbey Sanctum Martyrium CryptMontmartre CemeterySaint-Vincent CemeteryLe Passe-Muraille sculptureLe Mur des Je t’AimeAbbesses Art Nouveau Metro stationMoulin RougeBateau LavoirMontmartre grape harvest festival

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