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Paris, France

Statue of Death of the University of Medicine

Statue of death tucked in the University of Medicine courtyard. 

Monuments to death haunt the city of Paris — if one is curious enough to seek them.

One of the most stunning Parisian memento mori experiences is neither in a museum nor a cemetery, but hidden in the calm courtyard of the Monastery of Les Cordeliers, now converted into the University of Medicine.

Wander around the courtyard and you’ll find, under an alcove, a marble sculpture of Death itself as the Grim Reaper. It stands on a pedestal made of a crown, a treasure chest, and other jewels, symbols of human vanity and pride — all dust under death’s feet. 

Carved in 1910 by Henri Allouard, the sculpture is a mix of anatomical realism and classical sculpture and iconography, giving it a graceful and mysterious beauty. Elegantly draped in a white shroud, Allouard’s vision of Death reminds us of our own ephemeral nature. 

Know Before You Go

Metro : Odeon ( 4 )