The fascinating history of cemeteries

As part of the Printemps des Cimetières, Julie Duponchel, of the Patriminots, living in Caplongue, guided many villagers through the history of Arvieu by visiting her cemeteries that have disappeared and are present. With the idea that “the closer we are to God, the more we are under his protection”, the Arvieunois were buried around the church.

The first known cemetery in the village was to the south of the church and skeletons were discovered in the basement of the tower of the former convent. In Arvieu, burials close to homes and the church posed health problems. Also, when the royal declaration of March 20, 1776 obliged the cities and the boroughs to move their cemetery out of the enclosure of the dwellings, the small cemetery of Arvieu was transferred on the current small place of Vallat. Then, the latter was replaced by the one we know.

In 1942, German prisoners were tasked with digging up the bones. Some families have been able to recover ornaments from the tombs of their deceased, some crosses of which are still present in their properties, while some stelae or plaques have been placed in the new cemetery.

Julie pointed out graves of particular architectural and historical interest, such as those of foreigners who left their lives on the construction site of the dam in 1952. Each participant was able to enhance the guided tour with personal anecdotes or testimonials transmitted by their parents or grandparents.