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French burial customs ?

Denmark, Europe
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French burial customs ?

I have removed this question from another thread:

Question to experts/ forumists who live in France.

It may seem a llittle morbid, but I have been wondering about it after visiting Père Lachaise and Cimetière de Montmartre:

When you have these really heavy, polished marble or granite sepulchral monuments (sepultures) - often familygraves with enormous slabs of stone on the top - that seem almost impossible to move - what do you do with the dead ? Are the sepultures only for "memorial" purposes, so that the dead are placed somewhere else (e.g. as ashes in an urn at a columbarium ?) - or do you actually have to remove all that granite/marble every time another member of the family dies ?

At the Cimetière de Montmartre I saw a grave with a recent burial (there were many fresh flowers still with farewell-cards on them) - but it didn't look as if the stone on top had been removed - in fact most of these gravestones look as if they cannot be opened again at all.

(In DK we dig a hole in the burial plot, put the coffin (or the urn with the ashes) down, throw earth on top, and then later put a small gravestone on the burial plot, some nice gravel and plant flowers and small bushes, but we do not have these giant granite/marble monuments. So when another member of the family dies, we just dig a fresh hole in the same plot and put that coffin/ urn down there too.)

paris
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1. Re: French burial customs ?

The graves are opened and the stones set in to place again (sometimes 2 or 3 days after the ceremony)

For some huge tombs, the 'real' burrial place is on the side of the monument, some others have a sort of (stone) trap door.

In villages, most of the cemetaries will look like what you mention for Denemark (moving those marble slabs requires specialized workers, not always available or affordable)

Denmark, Europe
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2. Re: French burial customs ?

Thanks norween ! I suppose the "ordinary" people would not be able to afford one of the big monuments for a family grave with all that pulling and lifting of (expensive) gravestones.

paris
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3. Re: French burial customs ?

I remeber something fro a burial i went to : a hole was dug beside the stone grave, the coffin put down.

Once the family left (there were flowers on the coffin but not ground (except some symbolic ground) the funeral company employees came back and 'slid the coffin under the stone from the side and put the ground back in place and the flowers on the marble slab (i had parked my car beside the cemetary, that's why i went back).

Now, i think a remember seeing freshly upturned eath beside a grave more than once, maybe this technique is common

Denmark, Europe
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4. Re: French burial customs ?

Another question:

Then how about those sepultures that are like telephone-booths (sorry for the profanity) with pointed roofs (even with gargoyles and all sorts of ormanents on them). Some have stained glass windows and when you look inside, there is - most of the time - "nothing" in there, except for a bunch of plasticflowers, picture of some saint, maybe a candle.

These sepultures can - I guess - only be for memorial purposes, or what ?

paris
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5. Re: French burial customs ?

Those memorials are often in the middle or over a serie of graves belonging to a same wealthy family (some are even little chapels, used for private ceremonies).

Some are just memorials : when multiple members of a family or a comunity were impossible to bury in the local resting place (generally lost at wars or far abroad)

Denmark, Europe
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6. Re: French burial customs ?

1000 thanks Norween, for all that information. I hope many forumists read your answers to this, as they really give an extra perspective to visiting the Cimetières de Paris. Normally these are things that you can only guess about.

Have a nice day.

Denmark, Europe
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7. Re: French burial customs ?

1000 thanks Norween, for all that information. I hope many forumists read your answers to this, as they really give an extra perspective to visiting the Cimetières de Paris. Normally these are things that you can only guess about.

Have a nice day.

Grants Pass, Oregon
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8. Re: French burial customs ?

Norween2, Thanks for the informative answer. That was something I was curious about also, but couldn't think of a courteous way to inquire.

paris
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9. Re: French burial customs ?

In Père lachaise many chapels were built in the 19th century to "show off" the wealth of the family, then you have under the chapel a staircase going down under where you have several spaces foe the different members of the family.

I don't understand the earlier post saying you dig on the side, or beside : the law requests that the stone should be covering the body. So you cannot bury beside the marble stone, you put the stone on top of the body.

10. Re: French burial customs ?

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Removed on: 14 August 2009, 17:49