Pets’ Cemetery in Paris

It’s good to feel that you know a city like Paris very well. It’s also good to be able to find something new and preferably bizarre every time you visit. This time it was the Cemetery for Dogs and Other Animals at Asnieres. You walk from the metro stop via a street which could equally be in Morocco, and arrive at a grand art nouveau entrance. There’s a small fee, but it’s worth it. The cemetery is quite large, and laid out in sections according to the animals buried, and there’s a helpful map to find the most interesting graves. Rin tin tin is I suppose the star attraction, and there are fresh flowers laid by his fans. In fact, just when a particularly strange stone kennel comes into view and you want to chuckle, you have to exercise a bit of restraint because there are constantly mourners coming and going with flowers and mops and buckets to clean their loved ones’ graves. At the entrance is a huge monument in memory of a St Bernard which rescued 40 people but was killed by the 41st. Next to it is a modest grave for Napoleon’s dog, Moustache. Among the marble cats and dogs there are little installations of toys, beads and gnomes, or poignant stones on which is written “The child I never had”. There’s a monkey and a racing horse as well as countless birds, and at the far end there’s a cats’ home so that live ones can go and sit on the grave stones of their ancestors and laze in the sunshine.





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