Picpus Cemetery

Not too far from Nation-and where I live-is the small, private Picpus Cemetery. It’s hard to find behind plain brown doors and is only open for a few hours in the afternoon but it is worth the effort.

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When you enter you see a chapel in front of you. Inside this chapel are all the names of those who were victims of the guillotine which was at Nation for a time. Over 1000 people were beheaded at Nation in the last months of the “terror”. Their bodies were taken to a mass grave in a garden of a convent. Eventually the convent and garden were bought by relatives of those slain and a new order took over and the cemetery was created.

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A closeup of the wall listing the victims. As you can see it also has their age and occupation, if known.

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A door and window on the side of a building on the grounds.

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Around the back of the chapel is the small cemetery full of interesting tombs, all of them relatives of the victims buried there, most aristocrats.

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Many people come here to see the tomb of General Lafayette and his wife. They are buried here because she had relatives buried here after their death at the guillotine. General Lafayette helped in the American Revolution and had dirt from Bunker Hill put on his grave when he died. An American flag always flies there and was even there during the German occupation of Paris probably because the cemetery is so hidden. There is a ceremony here every July 4th with the American Ambassador in attendance.

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