Le Toussaint

Cemeteries get a lot of cinematic attention on Halloween, but in France they don’t really consider that American import anything more than a commercial holiday for stores to sell candy to kids. The real holiday is actually Toussaint, or All Saints’ Day, on November 1st. On this bank holiday families traditionally visit the cemeteries to pay their respects and place flowers on the graves of their loved ones.

Growing up in Arizona I rarely ever saw actual tombstones (except in Tombstone, AZ, of course), just the flat marble plaques embedded in immense lawns that were easily maintained — like the many golf courses — by groundskeepers on riding mowers. Actual tombstones were reserved for the creepy graveyards I saw in horror films and Halloween haunted houses. And those were just made of painted foam. So I was quite fascinated by the cemeteries of Paris. They didn’t seem real to me with their crumbling sarcophaguses (aka sarcophagi…they’re both correct), dramatic statues, and authentic stone and marble tombs. It was hard, at first, to believe the often heart-sick inscriptions were made by real mourners and not set decorators.

One Response to “Le Toussaint”

  1. Comment by linda mccluskey | 11/01/11 at 12:34 pm

    hi there!
    ive been trying to find an email to send you this invite but will just send it here.

    You know 59 Rivoli by its always interesting facade but did you know that 59 Rivoli welcomes
    approxiately 1500 visitors a week? Did you know that 59 Rivoli is listed as one of the top three most
    visited sites of contemporary art (museums, galleries, etc) in Paris and one of the ten most visited sites of contemporary art in all of France? Well, it’s time you knew!

    You are cordially invited to a champagne reception and group tour of the artist studios at 59 Rivoli
    Friday, 4 November, 2011 18h
    Meet on the 1st Floor of the Gallery 59

    18h00 Welcome Apero 1st floor of the gallery
    18h15 Presentation and History of 59 Rivoli
    18h45 Group tour of 59 Rivoli and introduction to the artists
    19h30 Champagne Reception on the 6th floor

    Please RSVP so we’ll know how many of you to expect. Feel free to invite
    friends as well!!

    Attention Paris Press, Bloggers and Guides:
    We, the artists at 59 Rivoli, would cordially like to invite you for a champagne reception and private tour of our studios. Please feel free to bring friends and to pass the attached invitation along to others who may be interested as well.
    I hope to see you all on 4 November, 2011 at 18h in the gallery.

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