They lie in the midst of strangers. We often pass by them without noticing them. Sometimes you even have to scrape the moss to read their names engraved in stone.
Like their Parisian neighbors, the 29 cemeteries of Seine-Saint-Denis also have their share of celebrities. A homecoming for some, a fate of fate for others, who died a few kilometers away, in the City of Light. Whether they are erected in the Parisian cemeteries (extra-muros) of Pantin, Saint-Ouen or Saint-Denis or in the communal cemetery of Lilas, a detour through these often modest burial places that you could discover, this Wednesday, at the occasion of All Saints’ Day, feast of the dead.
Names that have marked the history of cinema, music, sport or politics. Like Jean Yanne for example. It is under his real name “Jean Gouyé” that the comedian, actor and singer has been buried since 2003 in his hometown of Les Lilas. Died of a heart attack at the age of 69, the director of “Everyone is beautiful, everyone is nice” won the Interpretation Award at Cannes in 1972 for his role in “We will not grow old together” by Maurice Pialat. Featured columnist for twenty years on the famous RTL program “Les Grosses tête”, he rests with his relatives in the family vault.
In Pantin, the Fratellini family rests. Their name has practically disappeared from the tombstone, but it is here that several members of the Fratellini family are buried. Originally from Italy, the clan established itself in the circus world at the end of the 19th century and in the first half of the 20th century. One of their descendants, Annie Fratellini, is notably known for having created the Academy of the same name which trains in the circus arts. The structure founded in Paris is now located in Saint-Denis. The best-known trio of the clan, made up of brothers Paul, François and Albert, is buried in Perreux-sur-Marne (Val-de-Marne).
Still in Pantin, the walker will find in the alleys of the cemetery the tomb of the writer and poet Jacques Audiberti. Born in Antibes, the author, who was also a journalist specializing in news stories for Le Petit Parisien, was buried there in 1965. The cemetery of Pantin also houses the burials of the count of Lautréamont (real name Isidore Lucien Ducasse) 1846-1870), of the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas (1906-1995), of the singer of the Green Negresses Helno (1963-1993), the director Jean-Pierre Melville (1917-1973) or the boxing world champion Alphonse Halimi (1932-2006).
In Saint-Denis, in addition to the celebrities of the cemetery, have of course found the tombs of the kings of France in the crypt of the Basilica, from Clovis to Louis XVIII.
Saint-Ouen, Monday October 30. The tomb of Alphonse Allais is only materialized by a commemorative slab, which is in very poor condition. LP / RC
In the shade of a cypress, in the old part of the Saint-Ouen cemetery, is the tombstone of Alphonse Allais. A simple slit plaque recalls that the journalist, storyteller, and humorist was buried here on October 28, 1905 … while specifying that his remains are no longer there. On April 21, 1944, a Royal Air Force bomb indeed pulverized the tomb, which is located on the edge of the railway line. It is difficult to know where the remains of the body of Alphonse Allais are now. The commemorative plaque indicates that the burial was transferred “virtually” to Montmartre even if other hypotheses suggest that its remains would be in the grave with bones created after the bombings.
Saint-Denis, this Tuesday, October 31. Pierre Degeyter, who died and was buried in Saint-Denis in 1932, is the composer of the famous hymn the Internationale. LP / RC
Pierre Degeyter’s tombstone is struck with hammer and sickle. Quite a symbol for the musician who composed the International in 1888. The words of this song symbolizing social struggles, which will become the hymn of the Soviet Union, are inscribed on the pages of three marble books placed on the tomb.
“It was redone last year,” says Nathalie Gaudet, curator of the cemetery. The sickle and hammer have been repainted. People often stop in front of the grave and maintain it by laying flowers, ”she adds.
Saint-Ouen, this Tuesday, October 31. Suzanne Lenglen, tennis champion from the beginning of the 20th century, is buried with her family in the Parisian cemetery. LP / RC
The second largest tennis court in the Roland-Garros stadium bears his name. Suzanne Lenglen, a legendary player from the beginning of the 20th century, has won no less than 81 singles tournaments throughout her career, including the French Open six times at Porte d’Auteuil. The champion, nicknamed the Divine, died prematurely of a serious illness at the age of 39. Her grave, where she rests with her parents, is decorated with a partly broken palm.