The bizarre fame of Victor Noir, the man who boasts the “Sexiest” tomb in Père-Lachaise cemetery

The Cemetery of Père-Lachaise is the largest cemetery in Paris. Many famous people are buried there and Jim Morrison, Molière, Frederic Chopin, Théodore Géricault are just a few names. The grave of Oscar Wilde is very popular and his female fans have smothered the tomb with kisses leaving red lipstick marks all over. Many female visitors, after assaulting the grave of the famous Irish writer, move over to the adjacent plot for their next target, the tomb that probably gained worldwide fame for the most unusual reasons. The one of…

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From baker to millionaire: the story of a man with a remarkable sense of entrepreneurship buried in Wiener Zentralfriedhof

Located in the outer city district of Simmering, Wiener Zentralfriedhof, or Vienna Central Cemetery, is one of the largest cemeteries in the world by number of interred, and is the most popular among Vienna’s nearly 50 cemeteries. It was opened on All Saints’ Day in 1874, far outside city’s borders. The first burial was that of Jacob Zelzer, that still exists near the administration building at the cemetery wall, followed by 15 others that day. The cemetery spans 2.5 km2 with 330,000 interments and up to 25 burials daily. It…

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#April 20, 1887: in Paris, world’s first motor race!

Historic records show that on this day, April 29, 1887, Georges Bouton “won the world’s first motor race”. But it was a hollow victory and there was no champagne celebration. The reason? Bouton and his co-driver were the only ones taking part. And, to be exact, it wasn’t even a car, but a steam-powered quadricycle. The curious event was a test organised by the newspaper “Le Velocipede” to see if Bouton’s machine, which had boasted speeds of 60kmph, could make the 29-kilometre distance between Neuilly Bridge in Paris and the…

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#March 18, 1662: the first public buses began to run in Paris, probably 200 years ahead of its time.

The first public buses began to run on this day, March 18, 1662, even if it was an idea probably 200 years ahead of its time. The service, introduced in Paris, was abandoned in 1675 and public transport did not return to the streets of any major city until 1895, exactly 233 years later. The idea was promoted by Blaise Pascal who was a man of many talents: physicist, philosopher, mathematician, inventor, author – and more. The Governor of Poitou, the Duke of Ronanes, thought it was such a good…

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#March 3, 1875: Carmen, the opera that shocked Paris

Carmen, now one of the most popular and frequently performed operas in the world, had its premiere on this day, March 3 1875, in Paris. However, its story of an army officer’s seduction (and betrayal) by a voluptuous and sensuous cigarette factory worker stunned its French audience and the first performance was greeted with astonished silence. Until this “vulgar” new opera came along and shook the public, the composer, Georges Bizet, had enjoyed moderate success, but nobody was prepared for the opera’s theme of erotic obsession, the sight of women…

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Paris through a Nazi’s lens: Propaganda pictures of Occupied France in 1940’s

André Zucca (1897-1973) was a French photographer and Nazi collaborator, popular thanks to his work with the German propaganda magazine Signal. Born in 1897 in Paris, son of an Italian tailor, André spent part of his youth in the United States before returning to France in 1915. After the outbreak of World War I he enlisted in the French army, where he was wounded and decorated with the Croix de Guerre, and after the conflict he became a photographer. Much later, during the 1930s, he made several reports in countries…

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The splendid grave of the dancer Rudol’f Nureev covered by a rug like mosaic

A short distance from Paris is the Orthodox Cemetery Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois, which houses many Orthodox Russians who died and were buried close to the French capital. Among these there is also Rudol’f Chametovič Nureev, one of the greatest dancers and choreographers of the 20th century, who rests in a decidedly particular grave. The sepulcher is in fact covered by a mosaic in the shape of a Kazakh kilim, a carpet of great value which is woven like a tapestry, because the dancer was an avid collector of beautiful carpets and antique…

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A splendid collection of rare color Photos of Paris taken about 100 Years Ago

For most of us are normal to see historical photographs in black and white, due to the diffusion of monochrome films during the early years of photographic technique. The color images, however, were almost contextual to the invention of photography itself, and it was only the difficulty of creating the supports capable of resuming the different colors that changed over the years, making the spread of colour photograph more and more common. Tired of the endless series of black and white photos that were popular in that days, French banker…

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A visit at the Cimetière des Chiens, the world’s oldest Pet Cemetery

The Cimetière des Chiens et Autres Animaux Domestiques, translated as the Cemetery of the Dogs and other Domestic Animals, in Asnières-sur-Seine, just outside of Paris, is the oldest pet cemetery in Europe, and perhaps in the world, depending on its definition of a “pet cemetery.” It claims to be the first pet cemetery in the world and even if there are some more ancient than it, it is the first to be basically a smaller version of our own modern cemeteries. Shrouded in decaying grandeur, it’s probably, according to a…

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Goussainville-Vieux Pays: the post-apocalyptic remains of a bucolic town ruined by a plane crash.

Just to the north of Paris, under the flight path of the Charles de Gaulle airport, lies the remains of a little pretty French town. At least, until catastrophe struck. It is Goussainville-Vieux Pays (not to be confused with nearby, still-thriving Goussainville), that was once a postcard-like town, and for centuries, it functioned as a small, quaint farming village. The old town was once positively bucolic, surrounded mostly by green space. This was, ironically enough, what drew planners to select the area as the location for Charles de Gaulle airport.…

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The “Unknown of the Seine”: the most kissed face of all time!

In the late nineteenth century, around 1880 the body of an unidentified young woman was pulled from the River Seine in Paris. The custom at the time with unknown bodies was to display them at the morgue so that friends or relatives of a missing person could visit and identify them. This body was no different from others, and was put on public display in the Paris Morgue in the hope that she would be recognised. However, one hundred years later, the young woman face is recreated tens of thousands…

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The first photograph in Paris it is also the first photograph in which Human Beings appear

Beyond the many stories that have built the city of Paris, the French capital also contributed to scientific innovations. Indeed, it was in Paris that the first picture of a human being has been taken. Nowadays, anyone knows the word “selfie” and our photographs are shared almost everywhere, practically worldwide, through a large number of social networks. But try to imagine a time when human beings weren’t photographed. The first photograph of human beings, which was also the first of the city of Paris, was taken by Louis Daguerre, the…

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