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Al Teich | all galleries >> Travels >> Europe >> Christmas Week in Paris, 2007 > The grave of Jean Paul Sartre and Simone De Beauvoir in the Montparnasse Cemetery
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The grave of Jean Paul Sartre and Simone De Beauvoir in the Montparnasse Cemetery

Will someone please explain to me why visitors to the grave pay their respects by leaving Metro tickets?


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Brian Jones 09-Apr-2013 22:34
I was attracted to Sartre's philosophy in the late 1960's because he offered two things: a philosophical basis to take seriously the claims of individual freedom and also an intellectual rigour as imaginative force in arguing about freedom. I believe Sartre never lost that belief for intellectual rigour, but the Maoist stunts of his later years do not represent in any way the force of his contribution, to philosophy, to literature, to sociology or to the practical activities of the left in France or elsewhere. They were no an aboration, rather of a man growing old and becoming sick, who had diminished powers still wished to be an influence on a world escaping. He was loosing his sight and his ability to concentrate intellectually. Rather like the latter years of Bertrand Russell the English philosopher his voice was being taken over by people wishing to use his eminence and abilities to place a halo around themselves. It was perhaps sad, but he did t under the freedom of his own commitment which was real. It was a fact of his life, but by no means the greatest fact in it. Perhaps, given his whole life one of the least important. Those who wish to know Sartre don't have to read only Nausea or the later manifestos. They have to read Being and Nothingnothes, The Critique and Fleaubert. They are necessary, of course there is much else, so much else. But to understand him you ought to study those with clarity, and not metro tickets on a grave. B P J
Guest 19-Sep-2012 03:34
I was there in August, 2012, and there were numerous metro tickets (more than in the above picture) held down by small rocks, and several offerings of flowers.
ddddd 23-Nov-2009 03:28
Metro tickets and notes left for both de Beauvoir and Sartre

Jean-Paul passed away in 1980 and his life partner Simone de Beuvoir followed him in 1986. The basics of Sartre’s philosophy is that each person must define meaning for themselves. Philosophically speaking Sartre was a fellow-traveler, which means that he may have agreed with a movement (i.e.Communist, Maoist, etc) but he would have never have officially joined any group. During the turbulent 60s and 70s Sartre supported a number of Leftist movements including the French Maoists, which acted at times like Robinhood in that they stole from the rich (i.e. government) and distributed to the poor (i.e. workers). One of these acts was inspired by a price hike for the Paris metro. In response to this act, which directly impacted French workers, the group stole metro tickets and gave them away. Sartre helped the Maoist cause by taking over its newspaper after the group’s leadership was arrested in 1970. Today the grave of Sartre and de Beuvoir it is likely that some unused Metro tickets are on the grave which commemorate Sartre’s and de Beauvoir’s support of the French Maoists and perhaps of socialism and labor in general. Notes are put on the grave for Simone de Beauvoir, the author of The Second Sex and who famously said, “one is not born a woman, but becomes one”. The notes that I saw were written in a few languages including Arabic, English, Spanish and French. The notes written in English, Spanish and French, the languages I could get the gist of, referenced a woman’s strength and thanked de Beauvoir for her inspiration.
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