The Marshals' Final Resting Place: Le Cimetiere du Pere-Lachaise
By Tony Broughton, FINS
Pere-Lachaise is a large sprawling cemetery first opened in 1804, its first administrator being Nicolas Frochot . Since its opening many famous names have found their final resting place within its boundaries. There are fourteen Marshals of the First Empire buried there and numerous Generals. For any visitor to the cemetery a map is essential to locate the various Tombs, these can be obtained from one of the two flower shops situated on the Rue du Repos this street leads directly to the main gates of the cemetery. My first visit was in 1995 and I found an article in the Napoleonic Society of America Bulletin of that year written by Phillip L. Medelin most useful, I have visited the cemetery every year since looking for the more elusive graves. Below I have detailed the route that I normally take when visiting the cemetery.
Upon entering the cemetery there are two main avenues on the left is
the Avenue du Puits and on the right the Avenue Casimir-Perier. Take
the Avenue Casimir-Perier. This will lead you to the Carrefour du Grand-Rond.
At this point you should go to the right until you reach the first street
on the right, this divides the 14th and 17th Divisions walk down this
street for approximately fifty yards on the left you will notice a
set of steps walk down these and this will bring you to the tomb of
Marshal Victor. Inscribed on the tomb is: Claude Victor Perrin, Duc
de Bellune, Pair et Marechal de France. The tomb is a white marble
sarcophagus with a Crown surmounting it, the Crown rests upon a laurel
The next Marshal's grave is Marshal Kellermann. If you stand with Victor's grave to your right and look directly in front you will notice a set of steps with an handrail at the top of these steps directly in front of you is the the grave of Kellermann. The tomb is an impressive monument in its centre it states: Francois Christophe de Kellermann, Pair et Marechal de France.The tomb stands ten feet in height at its peak and is constructed of a marble. Marshal Kellermann's Grave
Marshal St-Cyr's grave is possibly the grandest of all the Marshals graves. To locate it you should stand facing Marshal Kellermann's memorial and turn to the right proceeding up the Avenue des Arcades as it bends to the left St-Cyr's monument appears on the left. It is a truly magnificent monument and cannot be missed made from white marble and having a full size statue of Marshal St-Cyr surmouted on a rectangular column in the centre of the monument. The inscription reads: Le Marechal Gouvion St-Cyr. Marshal St-Cyr's Grave
From St-Cyr's monument follow the street. After a short distance you will locate Marshal Macdonald's resting place. It is on the left hand side and the mausoleum as a metal fence in front of it, this is now showing signs of its age. Above the front of the mausolium are the words: Sepluture Maconald Looking down you will see four plaques the bottom left one as the words: Jacques Etienne-Joseph-Alexandre Macdonald, Duc de Tarente, Pair et Marechal de France. Marshal Macdonald's Grave
Go on up the same street that Marshal Macdonald's grave is located until you reach the first street on the left. This is the Chemin Massena turn onto this street and the first Marshal's grave located on it is Marshal Suchet situated on the right hand side, his monument is a large rectangular white marble monument with reliefs on its sides summouted by a relief of Marshal Suchet's head at the top and inscribed: Marechal Suchet, Duc D'Albufera. Marshal Suchet's Grave
Continuing down the Chemin Massena until you come to the first street to the right, here it is possible to see four Marshals' graves. The first of these is Marshal Lefebvre. Tto locate this grave you should be looking down the street directly in front of you. Lefebvre's grave is constructed from white marble and is rectangular in shape resting on a stone base. On the end of the panel is a relief of Marshal Lefebvre and on the top of the monument is the single word: Lefebvre. Marshal Lefebvre's Grave
To the left of Marshal Lefebrve's grave lies Marshal Massena. This is constructed as a white marble obelisk. This is set upon a base that as a profile of Massena set in a garland suspended from two swords. Inscribed upon the actual obelisk are four of the Marshal's battles: Rivoli, Zurich, Genes Essling and thewords: Massena, mort le 4 Avril 1817. Marshal Massena's Grave
Although Murat is not actually buried at Pere-Lachaise there is a monument to him, it is however the family grave. The actual location of his body is unknown. It is reported that after his execution his head was removed and his body thrown into the sea. The monument is in the shape of a white marble pyramid, Murat's profile is set at the top of the monument with a single word Murat. To the left of the profile there is an inscription: A la memoire de Joachim Murat, Marechal de France, Grand Duc de Berg et Cleves, Roi de Naples. Marshal Murat's Monument
To the left of Marshal Murat's monument is Marshal Serurier's gravetone, although Marshal Serurier is in fact intered in Invalides his body being exhumed in 1947 and placed in Invalides Crypt. Marshal Seruriers headstone is approximately three feet in height and made from white marble inscribed upon it are the words: Ici repose, le Comte Jean Mathieux Philbert Serurier, Marechal et Pair de France, ne a Laon 8 Dec 1742, mort a Paris 21 Dec 1819. Marshal Serurier's Grave
If you continue down the Chemin Massena for thirty metres you will come upon a tomb in the shape of a pyramid on the left hand side. From this point you will be able to see Marshal Ney's tomb, as it is directly in front of you. The tomb is made from grey stone and is semi-circular in shape, at the rear of the semi-circle is a white marble panel with a relief of Marshal Ney's profile. It also has crossed Marshal's batons and the Legion d'Honneur. Inscribed in the stone are the words: Michel Ney, Duc d'Elchingen, Prince de la Moskowa. Marshal Ney's Grave
To locate Marshal Davout's tomb you should return to the pyramid grave mentioned previously, this should now be on your left. If you look directly to your left you should be able to see Marshal Davout's grave. It is constructed of a white marble sarcophagus with a large white marble cross at the back. Surrounding the tomb is an iron fence and on the side of the tomb are inscribed the words: Sepluture du Marechal Davout. Marshal Davout's Grave
Marechal Mortier's grave may prove to be the most dificult to find as there is no indication on his tomb that he is buried there, the easiest way to locate the grave is to continue from Marshal Ney's down the Chemin Massena for sixty metres until you come across the Grave of General Foy. It is impossible to miss this tomb as it is monumental including a statue. From the rear of General Foy's tomb look to your right and you should be able to see a white stone mauselium with three steps leading to its door, above the door is a crest (fig 14). Looking through the door on the left hand side of the rear wall there is a plaque inscribed: Le coeur d'Edouard Adolphe Casimir Joseph Mortier, Duc de Trevese, Marechal de France, ne au Cateau le 13 Fevrier 1768. This is in fact the family tomb of Marshal Mortier, while his heart is intered there his body is in fact in the Crypt at Invalides. Marshal Mortier's Grave
Marechal Perignon's is located on the Chemin de Camille Jordan. From the front of Marshal Mortier's grave turn to your right and walk approximately five metres until you find a smallpath to your left. Take this path until you reach the road, this is the Chemin de Camille Jordan proceed along it until you come to a dirt street this is the Chemin Moliere et Lafontaine turning to the left down the Chemin de Camille Jordan until you reach a Y junction, take the right fork until you reach another Y junction. At this Y once again take the right fork until you reach a third Y junction, at the centre of this junction and to your left is Marshal Perignon's grave. His grave is a simple headstone six feet in height with a iron fence around it. At the base of the headstone the words: Perignon M. le 25 Decembre 1818 are inscribed. Marshal Perignon's Grave
From Marshal Perignon's grave take the street directly in front of you, this is the Avenue Transversale No 1. Turn left at the second street on your left this is the Avenue des Feuillants this brings you to a number of flights of steps, at the fourth flight and immediately to your right is Marshal Grouchy's tomb. It is a simple stone mausoleum with three wreaths above the door, the third wreath on the right contains one name: Grouchy Marshal Grouchy's Grave
Marshal Grouchy's grave is the last Marshals' in Pere-Lachaise however there are the tombs of numerous Generals of the Napoleonic Wars and many other famous people. If you have the time it is well worth looking for the other Napoleonic personalities interred in Pere-Lachaise.
The Other Marshals
The remaining twelve Marshals resting places are:
Directions to Pere-Lachaise
The easiest way to reach Pere-Lachaise is the Metro, the line required is Nation-Porte Dauphine do not get off at Pere-Lachaise stop instead get of at Phillipe Auguste. Take the steps leading to the Boulevard de Charonne at the top you will see a sign directing you to Pere-Lachaise.
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