Dumont D'Urville, Jules-Sebastien-César

BORN 23 May 1790, Condé-sur-Noireau, Basse-Normandie - DIED 8 May 1842, Meudon
GRAVE LOCATION Paris: Montparnasse Cimetière (division 15)

Son of the bailiff of Condé-sur-Noireau. He was taught by his mother's brother, the Abbot of Croisilles and continued his studies at the Lycée Impérial in Caen, where he read about the explorers of his time.

He entered the Naval Academy in Brest in 1807. By 1814 he spoke many languages and he had studied widely. In 1816 he married Adélie Pepin, the daughter of a clockmaker from Toulon. In 1819 he undertook a voyage to the Greek arhipelago on the Chevrette, commanded by Gauttier-Duparc. There a local peasant showd him a marble statue that is now known as the Venus de Milo. He wasn't able to transport it at once, but he was able to convince the French Ambassador in Constantinople to acquire it. It was delivered to the Louvre and he became he was rewarded by the title of Chevalier de Légion d'honneur.

From 1822 until 1825 he conducted research on the ship the Coquille, travelling to the Falkland Islands, South America, New Zealand and Australia. In 1826 he left with the ship Astrolabe and he explored Southern Australia and New Guinea. In 1829 he returned with a valuable collection of objects and papers. His health had suffered from the long voyage and he went to Paris to write an account of his travels. It was published between 1832 and 1834.

In 1837 he left for a third voyage, but this time all kinds of trouble hindered the expidition. After visiting many distant destinations he returned in 1840 and was promoted to Read Admiral.

In 1842 he was on a train from Versailles to Paris with his family when the locomotive detailed and the train caught fire. All compartment were locked and he and his damily were killed in this first French railway disaster. His remains were identified by Dumontier, who was a phrenologist and had travelled with him on board of the Astrolabe.

1842/5/8: 50 people are killed in a railway accident near Meudon
It was the first huge railway disaster in history. Among the victims was the explorer Dumont d'Urville.

Jules Dumont d'Urville - Wikipedia


The grave of Dumont D'Urville at Montparnasse Cimetière, Paris.
Picture by Androom (22 May 1999)


Dunant, Henry

Published: 8 Feb 2009
Last update: 8 Feb 2009