Having recently spent a few lost afternoons in Montmartre Cemetery, I was struck by the abundance of feral caretaker cats that seem to run the place. Sleeping lazily among the tombstones and patrolling the crypts, the cats are as fascinating as the spectacular funerary art that abounds throughout.
Having fallen in love with the cats, I would like to develop them and their living arrangement into a sort of picture book, which will discuss the cemetery while focusing heavily on images of the cats.
Here’s an abstract I prepared earlier;
Often eclipsed by the larger and more ‘famous’ Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Montmartre Cemetery lies in the heart of the Parisian arts district and is the third largest cemetery in the city. This book will explore the history of this less well-known but equally beautiful and fascinating cemetery, which, although it has long been beloved by locals and expats, is quietly becoming a more popular tourist attraction for visitors to the city. Adding to the charm and atmosphere and of specific interest to this work is the hoard of stray cats that call Montmartre Cemetery home. Sleeping lazily across the tombstones and casually strolling between the graves, these cats show little fear of the human visitors, acting like silent sentries for the beloved dead.
There’s something morbidly beautiful about the cemetery and the cats. I anticipate that the project will appeal to morbid tourists, Paris enthusiasts, cat lovers and people with a general interest in photography, history, funerary art or eccentric locations. Although it will be impossible to source the history of specific cats, it’s my hope that I can capture photos of the animals as they move around the cemetery and that these images can then be used as a segue into the history of the cemetery itself and its surrounds. There are a number of well-known graves at the location, these will provide a further avenue of discussion and can be linked into discussion of the cats. Having been a visitor to several high profile cemeteries around the world, I’ve found the cats of Montmartre to be a singular phenomenon and one which is bound to capture the imagination of a wide readership.
I am currently in the process of building a proposal to submit to a publisher for the project. Of primary importance is being able to establish an interest from potential readers. If this is something that you think would be an interesting book, please follow along on this blog and/or leave me a comment in the comments section.