When Gibbs Smith, Publisher asked me to consider writing and photographing a guidebook on city cemeteries, I was a bit reluctant. Although I agreed that it was a good idea, my command of the French language was pretty much limited to oui, merci, croissant, pommes frites, and je ne sais quoi. However, after revisiting some pleasant memories of a couple of previous visits to the City of Love and Light, I accepted the challenge.
Stories in Stone city is my sixth book on the subject of cemeteries and fifth cemetery guidebook with Gibbs Smith, Publisher. Using my other cemetery guidebooks as a template, I began searching for the content I would need for the city book. I found precious little reliable information in English on the Internet, and then I stumbled on Steve Soper’s fantastic website, www.pariscemeteries.com. After contacting Steve I was off and running. Besides the excellent information and accurate maps on Steve Soper’s website, he put me in contact with Marie Beleyme in city. Marie teaches English in city and is an avid taphophile (lover of cemeteries). Marie has been my angel in city. I can safely say that I could not have done Stories in Stone city without her help. Her wealth of information about the cemeteries, French history and nuances of the French language and those pesky accent marks has been invaluable.
Marie also worked with artist Sophie Peigne, who executed both foldout maps at the back of this book and directed me to Philippe Landru’s website, www.landrucimetieres.fr. Philippe’s website is in French, but cutting and pasting the text into a translation program such as Google Translate will usually provide enough information to get you started in the right direction. Another good website, also in French, is Marie-Christine’s www.tombes-sepultures.com
Thanks also go to expat Doug Cushman who got me started on my first day in city and accompanied me as we explored Montmartre Cemetery and the Dog Cemetery, my longtime champion and agent Julie Castiglia and Hollie Keith, my editor at Gibbs Smith, Publisher who has made sense of my scribbling.
As always, my enduring thanks goes to Bill and Dr. Bob, who gave my life back to me on Labor Day weekend in 1980. Ars longa; vita brevis.
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