August 17, 2007

The tomb of Joseph Kessel

Kessel grave.JPG

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago in my post Kissell on Kessel, I discovered shortly after arriving in France that there’s a street named after a famous writer and journalist whose name looks suspiciously familiar. I’d been to the street, but once I read Kessel’s biography and discovered that he’s buried in the Montparnasse Cemetery, I felt compelled to visit his grave as well. It’s a simple, elegant, unassuming tomb, helpfully noted on the maps posted around the cemetery, whose other residents include Baudelaire, Simone de Beauvoir, Samuel Beckett, and André Citroën (yes, that Citroën). It’s a lovely little park, though inconveniently bisected by a city road and less tranquil than Père-Lachaise.

While we were there, an interment was in progress not far away, and though I don’t believe we were close enough to disturb the mourners, I did feel rather conspicuous walking around with my camera—in jeans and a T-shirt, not black dress clothes—when something so solemn was going on nearby.

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