If you have more than a few days in Paris or are on a return visit, then there are several cemeteries that are well worth visiting. I did a post here about Père Lachaise Cemetery which would be my first choice. It is like visiting an open-air sculpture gallery where many of the tombs are the work of well known sculptors and made for distinguished artists, writers, performers etc. You can pick up a little guide at the entrance gates showing a plan of the notable tombs. Montmartre Cemetery is also worth visiting as it is the final resting place of many of the famous Impressionist artists who lived and worked in the area, but over the Christmas holiday I visited the Russian Orthodox Cemetery for the first time. It is an easy train or bus ride out of Paris to the southern suburbs.
After the October revolution more than a million Russians left their motherland many settled in Paris
The little white church within the cemetery grounds was built in 1938 and is regarded as an important historic monument. It is built in the style of Novgorod churches dating from the 15th/16th centuries
Apart from Rudolf Nureyev's dazzling tomb the cemetery holds many other graves and memorials to notable and distinguished Russians
The Imperial Ballet dancer - Mathilde Kschessinska, who was wooed by Tsar Nicholas II of Russia when she was 17 years old, and became his mistress
The dashing Prince Félix Youssoupov, one of the wealthiest men in the Russian Empire, who along with four others murdered the Mad Monk, Rasputin.
There are writers, musicians, poets, film makers, the Nobel Prize winner - Ivan Bunin, a memorial to the Cossacks, a family of composers. It's rather overwhelming to see just how many Russian expat tombs and memorials are there.Batignolles cemetery in Paris is the final resting place of many Russians. It used to house the tomb of Feodor Chaliapin, Russia's greatest ever Bass Opera singer, who died in Paris in 1938. Just before his death he was visited by Sergei Rachmaninov who was too grief stricken to attend his friend's funeral. Chaliapin's enormous cortège solemnly passed in front of the Paris Opera House before arriving at the burial site. Forty-six years later his remains were exhumed, flown from Paris, and reinterred at Novodevich Cemetery, Moscow. I mention this because in 1984 J and I travelled behind the so called 'iron curtain' to Russia; coincidentally we were visiting Novodevich Convent and witnessed all the pomp and ceremony surrounding Chaliapin's reburial in his homeland.
Chaliapin's portrait by Boris Kustodiev 1921
A poignant little memorial to Princess Vera Obolensky, nicknamed Vicky, who was born in 1911 and died aged 33 years in 1944. She was executed at Plözensee Prison in Berlin - a heroine of the French Resistance from Russia. She was born into Russian 'high society' but her family left to live in Paris during the Civil War in 1920 - the period when the Bolsheviks took control. She worked as a mannequin at the Russian fashion houses in Paris, and married Prince Nicolas Alexandrovich Obolensky, who was also active in the Resistance. He was deported and tortured but escaped with his life and became a Russian Orthodox priest after the war. Vicky was responsible for helping to evacuate many British POWs, and posthumously received the Cross of a Knight of the Legion of Honor and the Crois de Guerre.