Tuesday, December 18, 2018

murder in the cemetary

Doing research for my next book I discovered the 18th century Revolution in Paris had a lot more beheadings in Place de la Nation than anywhere else. The Terror took it's toll the highest at Place de la Trône - the former name - at the old toll gates of the city.  The carts took the beheaded, 1,306 bodies through these gates

to two mass graves on the grounds of a former convent.

They were the last victims of Paris' so far bloodiest chapter which ended when Robespierre it's architect was himself beheaded in Place de la Concorde not long after.

The ground reclaimed later by the convent partly became a private cemetary, Cimitière de Picpus. Aristocrats who'd survived knew their families, along with common people, had secretly bought the land to exhume and re-bury their relatives.

The commoners were left in the pits but their names and professions were recorded on the nearby Chapel wall. You can see mothers, priests, laundresses, customs officers, nurses, fabric and spice merchants and it's a sobering sad testament to violence under the guise of a cause. So pertinent to what's happening today.
The graveyard is also the final resting place of General Lafayette. During the American Revolution, the Marquis de Lafayette, who was then a 19-year old French military officer came to the United States to help General Washington fight the British. He returned to France at the end of the war as a wounded hero of the American Revolution. His place in the heart of Americans was the reason President Monroe invited him back in 1825. When Lafayette prepared to go back to France, he had an aide remove several barrels of soil from Bunker Hill in Boston because he wanted to be buried in American soil when he died.

He died in 1834 and the soil of America was spread in his grave. An American Flag was posted at his tomb on the day of his funeral. Every spring, it was replaced and an American Flag remained at Lafayette’s tomb even during the German occupation of Paris during World War II.
So how does it relate to my book?  Suffice it to say you'll hear more about that next year but a present day (1999) murder occurs here my next book. Also in the guise of a 'cause'.
Cara - Tuesday 


  1. Ah, nothing like history, blowing through our minds like a cool breeze through a cemetery...

  2. Oh, Cara, I want to go there to honor Lafayette! I Have great admiration fo the role he played in the American Revolution. He is commemorated on a plaque on PS3, my daughter's elementary school, in a historic building in the West Village. He visited NYC in 1824 and wanted to see a public school. The dignitaries took him there because, then, it was new.

  3. You certainly do know how to bait the hook, Cara. :) I can hardly wait for next year!