The Grave of Victor Noir – Is This Paris’ Sexiest Tomb?

The grave of Victor Noir is one of the most unusual resting places in Paris’ Père Lachaise Cemetery. The effigy of Noir is lying on his back, and while normally a greenish-bronze, he has a brightly polished crotch and lips from frequent rubbing. In modern times, Noir’s unusual tomb has become a symbol of fertility and a good sex life.

Drawing of Victor Noir grave in Pere Lachaise cemetery rub crotch
Victor Noir’s tomb in Pere Lachaise, with certain areas rubbed shiny by tourists

Who was Victor Noir?

Victor Noir was a young French writer, who died at just 22 years of age in 1870. He worked for the newspaper La Marseillaise.

Noir was killed in a duel with Prince Pierre Bonaparte, the cousin of the French Emperor Napoleon III. The series of events leading to the duel began with two rival newspapers, La Revanche (who published critical stories about the Emperor) and L’Avenir de la Corse. Taking sides, Noir’s newpaper joined in support of La Revanche.

After a challenge by Bonaparte, the owner of La Marseillaise, Paschal Grousset, sent Victor Noir as a messenger to fix the terms for a duel with the Prince. The Prince declined the challenge with Grousset, and insisted on duelling with Henri Rochefort, Grousset’s colleague.

There is uncertainty about who drew their revolver first, but Noir and Bonaparte found themselves engaged in a quick exchange of fire, and Victor Noir was shot dead in the street.

Bonaparte was acquitted, causing public outrage and protests. Over 100,000 people attended his funeral, as he became known as a martyr. Already unpopular, that same year would be the end of the French Third Republic and the reign of the Bonapartes.

Why do people rub Victor Noir’s crotch?

Sculpted just as he looked, laying dead on the street, the tomb of Victor Noir is a wonderful resemblance. But, it didn’t take people long to notice the bulge in his trousers.

It is unsure when the tradition started, but it is said that placing a flower in his top hat, kissing his lips, and rubbing his crotch will grant a woman increased fertility and better sex.

To get pregnant, you should touch his right foot, and to have twins, you should touch his left. All these effects are said to happen within a year of the touch!

Père Lachaise Cemetery is already a popular tourist spot in Paris, and it’s no surprise that Victor Noir is one of the most popular stops for visitors.

Stopping people from visiting Victor Noir

In 2004, a fence was erected around the tomb to prevent people from visiting. But, public outcry soon brought down the fence, and now people are free to rub and kiss and place flowers as they please.

People who attribute their pregnancies to Victor Noir have been known to go back and visit his tomb to say thanks, and place baby photos in his hat. Whether his powers are real or not, nobody can be sure, but people love to visit him nevertheless!


Paris is packed full of other hidden treasures! Find out what they are in this guide!

From humble writer, to murder victim, martyr, and eventually fertility symbol from beyond the grave, Victor Noir certainly has a memorable legacy! Have you visited Victor Noir, and did it help you with your love life? Let me know in the comments!

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