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Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI

Eternal Excursions

Batignolles

Within city’ 20 arrondissements and in the suburbs are a number of less touristed cemeteries that are certainly worth a stroll if you are in the neighborhood. Below is a listing of some of the best ones and profiles of two of the better-known residents. The city-administered cemeteries all have the same hours.

Not far from the main entrance to Levallois-Perret Cemetery is the permanent home of composer Maurice Ravel. Ravel will forever be remembered for what many say is one of the most erotic ballets (but usually performed as an orchestral piece) ever composed: Bolero. Premiering in 1928 and originally called Fandango, Ravel wasn’t particularly enthused about his composition, saying it was an experiment in a very special and limited direction. Ravel is also famous for, among other things, his orchestral arrangement of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition (1922). Maurice Ravel was a diminutive man who some say had the appearance of a well-dressed jockey. Certainly, he was a dandy and was as meticulous in his musical compositions as he was in his dress. One might say he had a bit of a Napoleon complex. What he didn’t have was Napoleon’s string of mistresses and dalliances. In fact, Ravel never married and, despite rumors that he was gay, never had any verifiable lovers. He lived with his mother until her death. Like it or not, many people may remember Ravel’s Bolero best from the 1980 hit movie 10 when Bo Derek asks her potential lover, George, played by Dudley Moore, Did you ever do it to Bolero? And then they do.

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