There are twenty-three cemeteries listed in Paris. Many of them can only be explained by the fact that they served the villages which lay outside the city itself. Even Père-Lachaise was outside the wall of 1784. I do not recommend visiting any of them, unless you are curious to see the tombs of the well-known or to study the difference between French cemeteries and ours. Of them all the cemetery of Montmartre is the least gloomy, lying as it does on the slope of the hill.
But it may interest you to learn that a count is kept of the visits paid on that day set aside for the dead, Le Jour des Morts, the second of November. The importance and the size of the cemeteries may be judged by these statistics, although the element which plays the larger part is the religious character of the neighborhoods.
Many persons go to Père-Lachaise to see the crowd, so that its figures are exceptional: in 1930, 20,587 visitors on that one day. Montparnasse, easily reached, numbered 11,100 visitors; and Montmartre, 10,600.
But even greater are the figures for the cemetery on the edge of probably the most thickly populated section, St Ouen. This had 15,600, and its older burying ground of the same name, 5000. The Pantin-Parisien had 33,100 visitors, and the Bagneux-Parisien, 20,853; the two cemeteries of “Ivry-ancien” and “Ivry-Parisien” had 11,000 visitors, and Clichy-Batignolles, 4300.
Then follow the smaller ones: Passy with 6,600; Vaugirard with 1,186; Montmartre-St Vincent, 3,100; St Pierre de Montmartre, 930; Auteuil, 950; La Villette, 464; Charonne, 623; Belleville, 600; Bagneux-Commune, 600; Bercy, 485; Grenelle, 110; and Picpus, 110.
There was Chapelle-extra-muros with 6,600, and all the other 72 cemeteries of the immediate suburban district, which had, altogether, 130,612 entries, while the Paris visits numbered nearly 150,000 visitors.
Is there any other city in the world where so many people voluntarily go to the cemetery like this on a given day?