Megaliths in the Paris Suburbs
Neolithic Burial Structures in the Paris SuburbsDoes France have Electricity?
Paris is a modern metropolis, it has been "The City of Lights"
for over a century, despite the flamboyant
ignorance of Fox "News" viewers
who believe that most homes in France don't have electricity.
However, there are neolithic sites in the Paris suburbs,
just a short train away.
A short suburban train ride to Meudon takes you to two megalithic sites. The first is a dolmen re-located and re-purposed as the family tomb of an archaeologist. That one is just a few hundred meters from the suburban train station.
The second is a sloppily reassembled passage grave now within the grounds of the official Paris municipal observatory.
Let's visit these! Start by taking the Métro to Gare Montparnasse.
France operates trains at a variety of scales. The world-famous Métropolitain serves Paris itself.
At the other end of the scale, the TGV or Train à Grande Vitesse is the original high-speed European inter-city train.
The RER or Réseau Express Régional is the regional train service.
What we need is the Transilien, the SNCF service for the Île-de-France and some surrounding areas. The Île-de-France includes Paris and its suburbs, so the Transilien is the Paris suburban and "exurban" commuter train service.
We want to take Transilien Line N from Gare Montparnasse just three stops to Meudon. The ticket will be just 2–3€ each way.
Exit the south side of the station, the cemetery is just east from there. Its entrance is on its south side, opposite the railway line.
The dolmen is in the southeast corner of the cemetery.
What a view! You're looking over a neolithic dolmen casually plunked down in a suburban Paris cemetery, with the Eiffel Tower and the Basilique de Sacré-Cœur up on Montmartre visible in the distance.
Let's walk around this...
There are eight uprights and two capstones, plus an added stone we will find to be of much more recent origin.
Peeping into the side, we see some recent Christian grave markings.
Walking back to the opening, we can see some definitely post-Neolithic inscriptions inside.
Jean-Baptiste Piketty was an archaeologist. born in 1827 and died in 1894. He had this dolmen disassembled and moved from Carnac, on the south shore of Brittany, to serve as his family's tomb in the Paris suburbs.
Jean-Baptites PIKETTY, Archéologue
1827 – 1894
Octavie PIKETTY, née STUREL
1828 – 1898
Delphine GUÉRET née STUREL
1814 – 1902
1856 – 1937
Marie Marguerite PIKETTY
1863 – 1908
Marie TATÉ née PIKETTY
1859 – 1939
André Georges Henri PIKETTY
1885 – 1915
17-21 Août 1963
1856 – 1922
1896 – 1966
1884 – 1942
1900 – 1988
1888 – 1965
1933 – 2011
1888 – 1971
Mme René PIKETTY
née Marguerite Gilquin
1897 – 2001
An oxidized copper plaque on one end of the modern headstone explains that this is the "Ker-Han" dolmen, previously of the commune of Saint-Philibert, near Karnac, in Britanny.
The Meudon memorial works is just outside the cemetery wall. I think their work is limited to modern designs, with nothing neolithic in stock.
To the Second Megalith in Meudon
Exit the cemetery and make your way generally south. After a few blocks you reach the center of town. Continue to the southwest to climb a long hill. Below, we've reached the top and turned to look back down.
You're headed to what's marked on maps as Parc de l'observatoire, or what appears to be the Fortress of the Telescopes, which I believe was on the Secret Treaties album.
There's a rather poorly reassembled neolithic passage grave in the northeast corner of this park.
This gets called the Pierre de Rabelais or the Stone of Rabelais.
Francois Rabelais was Curate of Meudon from 1547 until his death in 1553.
However, this is another case of a neolithic monument being fancifully associated with a figure from several millennia later.
There are some great views to the north over Paris.
I happened to be there when a carnival was setting up.
In France: Carnival workers look like ordinary people you encounter on the street.
In the U.S.A.: It's the opposite.
The Paris Observatory is at the south end of the park and fortress complex.