The very discreet Cimetière du Calvaire in Montmartre is more interesting than it seems. Smallest cemetery in Paris, as well as oldest cemetery in Paris, this field of turnip topping the Butte almost never unveils its mysteries… Shall we get in?
Hidden behind the impressive Porte de la Résurrection – a bronze door by Tomasco Gismondi – the Cimetière du Calvaire is a genuine uncommon curiosity to see in Paris. Once the door closed behind you, Montmartre and tourists seem to be so far away. It is very calm here. Spreading over 600sqm, only 85 graves cross the years as well as they can, under the benevolent eyes of the bell tower of the Saint-Pierre de Montmartre church.
Created in 1688, extended in 1697, then closed during the French Revolution less than a century later, it reopens in 1801. During the construction of the Sacred Heart in 1875/1876, Merovingian sarcophaguses are discovered! The oldest cemetery in Paris is actually older than what one thinks. Believe me when I say the Cimetière du Calvaire has may secrets up its tombs…
Furthermore, among the famous lodgers, you can try and decipher the names erased by time of the few Montmartre celebrities. The Debray family – the millers behind the Moulin de la Galette – or Félix Desportes – the first mayor of Montmartre (1790) – or even Christophe Caires de Blazère – vicar of the Saint-Pierre church to whom we owe the opening of the current rue Lepic.
All these stories and facts might have triggered a will to discover the wild alleys of this uncommon cemetery in Paris, and it is normal. Unfortunately, the Cimetière du Calvaire only unveils its mysteries on November 1st and on European Heritage Days. Alas, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, it no longer welcomes visitors. But it can change, right? Anyway, we hope so!
Cimetière du Calvaire
2 Rue du Mont-Cenis
75018 Paris 18
Métro Abbesses (ligne 12)