Friday, 15 May 2009

Souvenirs of the Paris Dogs Cemetery

The Paris Dogs Cemetery - The Cimetiere des Chiens has been the subject of previous posts, but in the past few days, I have been fortunate enough to acquire three vintage postcards of the cemetery and would like to share them with you. The first, above, is of the cemetery gates and was posted on April 20, 1920 - although I believe it to have been printed many years before that. I have scanned the reverse upon which is written a letter. Sadly, I don't know French, but I hope one of our experts may be able to translate? The lady with the parasol in the centre of the photograph is, presumably, taking the small boy to visit a dog grave.


  1. Oh, no! I have to go first! Well, here is how I read the note (in that European handwriting!): It's dated April 20, 1920 and is addressed "my dear Dennis" from an R. Verdier in Asnieres. "We've been neighbors for almost fifteen days. Without a doubt we'll have the opportunity to meet each other one day in Paris to speak a little again about Villechamps, Vendome, and Mrs. Rose who is always thinking about you. We hope you are in good health as well as your wife and daughter. Mrs. Verdier joins me in sending you our warmest regards. R. Verdier"
    I guess we're all a little disappointed there was no mention of the dog cemetery, why they were here, or why they chose that card. It is, however, a lovely treasure from more elegant times.

  2. Excellent translation Margaret, couldn't have done better myself...

    Laurie, as you can imagine, I'm green... where on earth did you find these ???

  3. Thank you again, Oh great and wonderous experts. Considering my surname is 'norman', I should learn a bit of French. Sadly, while pretty good on scarecrow and tree speak, French is a mystery to me. Years ago, I went on the Ferry to Calais and interviewed Dame Vera Lyn and . . . before anyone says it, not just after the war!
    Not sure, Owen, if you saw my response, at last, to your comment on the Princess Diana photographers on my other blog?
    By the way, you two, do think it was normal in the 1920s for people to write formally to mark having been neighb ours for almost 15 days?

    Oh, and almost forgot. One came from Hungary, another from Holland and . . . the other from France.


  4. I'm playing around with the Rosetta Stone in Italian but am not nearly motivated enough. Still, if you need something to do while you're resting, you might try the French one. The focus is on all four parts of the language: listening and speaking, reading and writing. What struck me as odd was if they were neighbors why did they have to meet in Paris to have a conversation?

  5. Thanks, Margaret. Sadly, I am not like my grandfather who died three months after I was born. He served on the North West Frontier of India in the 1890s and retired as an Orderly Room Quartermaster Sergeant just before the First World War.

    He signed up again and went with his battalion to France. The regimental history records that as he stepped ashore he was removed from the unit. He became a Warrant Officer 1st Class (Superintendent Clerk) on the infamous Field Marshal Haig's staff.

    So why was he removed from his unit? Remarkably, he could read, write, speak and . . . do Shorthand in French, German, Italian and Spanish - What a skill to possess? Haig's biography records that a Monsieur Manton was the interpreter at the secret Calais Conference in 1916 that set the future strategy for the conduct of the War.