Montmartre was once home to many of France’s celebrated figures; from actresses to essayists, singers to writers. Just metres away from our hostel is the cemetery where many of these famous artists were laid to rest. Here are 5 of the famous writers you can find at the Montmartre cemetery.
Marie-Henri Beyle, better known by his pen name Stendhal, is one of France’s greatest writers. Considered by many to be one of the earliest and most accomplished writers of realism, Stendhal was famed for his acute detail in describing his characters psychology. Nietzsche even referred to Stendhal as « France’s last great psychologist ». His most famous works The Charterhouse of Parma and The Red and the Black have become films in multiple languages.
Christian Johann Heinrich Heine was a renowned German poet, essayist and literary critic. Heine was a central part of the Young Germany movement, a group of socialist writers against the absolutism of politics and the emancipation of the jews. The German authorities consequently banned many of Heine’s works based on his radical views and so he moved to Paris. Karl Marx, a distant relative of Heine, was a great admirer of his political poetry. During the Third Reich, the Nazi’s burnt his works by order of Hitler. Today, many considered to be one of the first artists of the German language. He is one of the most famous non- French writers in the Montmartre cemetery.
Alexandre Dumas fils is the son of one of the most read French writers in history, Alexandre Dumas pere. Likewise, fils was himself an author and playwright. His most famous work was the semi-autobiographical novel The Lady of the Camellias, which would later became the inspiration for Verdi’s opera Camille. Dumas was buried metres away from Marie Duplessis; an old flame and inspiration for his masterwork.
As a writer, Edmond de Goncourt is best known for his collaborations with brother Jules. Together, the brothers Goncourt would create an infamous journal of literary and art criticism. In addition to the journal, Goncourt subsequently authored several novels. Regarded by le Figaro as « a masterwork in conceit », Edmond would continue the journal alone after Jule’s death in 1870. Edmond later founded theAcademie Goncourt in 1903, which awards the prestigious Prix Goncourt every year.
Théophile Gautier was an esteemed art and literary critic and as a poet and dramatist in his own right. Gautier spent the majority of his career as a journalist, for le Figaro, la Presse and Le Moniteur universel. Contributing criticism for a broad range of arts, from dance to theatre; many consider Gautier’s work to have raised the level of criticism of his day. In later life, Gautier wrote his own plays and novels; including Captain Fracasse, subsequently adapted 6 times for film.
The Montmartre cemetery is a mere two minute walk from our hostel. Book now and discover a world of history at your footsteps!