12 November 2008

Mort pour la France

There are two cemeteries above the Old Town in Menton: the cemetery of the Old Chateau, where many of the Russian and British aristocrats, who colonised Menton at the turn of the century, are buried.

From 1861, Menton became famous for its microclimate and many visitors, suffering from tuberculosis, came to Menton in the hope of getting well but sadly many died. And so the Old Cemetery had little space left for the dead.

In 1880 a second cemetery was built above the Boulevard de Garavan. It looks down over the Old Cemetery, terrace after terrace descending the hillside. Here from 1915, the fallen of Menton who died serving their country in the First World War are buried. The graves include many of the Troupes Sénégalaises .

These two photographs show only a small part of the war graves in Trabuquet. In the main photo, you'll see a square archway on the left and through this you'll find the fallen of Verdun. In other areas, tragically, you find more and more.

Many of the graves in both cemeteries are falling into disrepair but it's gratifying to see how beautifully these war graves are kept and to see so many chrysanthemums decorating them at this time of the year.

Lest we forget...


  1. Thank you for this moving post Jilly.

    What a fantastic location for a cemetary, with views to the sea. I love the fact that every tomb has flowers on it.

    I am amazed at the moon crescent and star tombstones (which look more like metal to me?). Are these Russian orthodox tombs?

  2. Nathalie, they are metal and I found the writing almost impossible to read. The star and crescent is found on several flags but one is Algeria, so perhaps these are Algerian war graves. I will endeavour to find out.

  3. A lovely post, Jilly. I spent quite a few hours one sunny day looking through the cemetry.

  4. If many Senegalese are buried in this cemetary, these musulman graves could be those of North African soldiers. Many of them fought in WWI...

  5. Beautiful Cemetery! Many generations of memorable notation are resting here at this scenic place of peace and serenity.

  6. What a beautiful post and series of photos.

  7. I had to go to the Mairie in Menton today and asked about the star and crescent symbol. Basically the lady didn't know but she thought they could be Tunisian graves, which ties up with your North African suggestion, Alice.

  8. The star and crescent is definitely Islamic. Could be Tunisian. Turkey or
    a few other countries I can't recall off hand as well as Algeria. Interesting and thoughtful post.

  9. For the families I suppose these were the "lucky ones" returned to be buried here rather than where they fell, often in unidentified graves.

    Did you hear about the discovery of a mass grave near Fromelles? The Australian Goverbor-General, a very dignified (dare I say almost French looking?) woman was there and at Villers Bretonneux this week.

    click here

  10. dwarfed by Cypresses


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