Père Lachaise Cemetery
Here are three amazing things you can do at the Père Lachaise Cemetery
1.) Take a guided tour of the Père Lachaise Cemetery
<- Jim Morrison's Grave
Oscar Wilde’s Grave: This grave was covered with the kisses of his admirers. But the monument has been restored and now a glass separates it from the public.
Every Saturday at 2:30 pm, no reservation required. Meet the guides at the main entrance (angle of Boulevard Ménilmontant and rue du Repos). It is the best thing to do if you want to avoid getting lost in this immense cemetery. You will discover all the styles of funerary art that are represented: Gothic tomb, Haussmann vault, antique mausoleum or simple headstone. You will also find your way to the most famous graves.
2.) Discover Menilmontant
Ménilmontant loves artists and vice versa. This neighborhood of the twentieth arrondissement of Paris, once heavily populated by the workers, is now permeated by many artists’ studios. In the winding streets, steep or cobbled, the artist alongside the writer or sculptor, neighbor of a photographer or a ceramist. These artists are grouped together in the Ateliers de Ménilmontant (Ménilmontant workshops, to the north of the cemetery). There are an incalculable number of French popular songs about this place.
3.) Stroll around Belleville Park
Offering a panoramic view of Paris, Belleville Park incorporates many elements symbolizing the area’s history: a vine, artificial caves (for old gypsum quarries that had to be stabilized to build the park), waterfalls and basins to remind us of groundwater. The vegetation is both traditional (arbor, clipped box) and modern. The two major routes crossing the garden follow the way of two old streets of which we kept the cobblestones.
- Perhaps you will run into Héloïse and Abelard’s common tomb. They are the two protagonists of one of the most beautiful and moving love stories of all time. If you want to know more about it, follow the Notre Dame and the Heart of Paris Walking Tour.
Facts about the Père Lachaise Cemetery
The Père Lachaise Cemetery is the most famous and the largest cemetery in Paris. Located in the 20th arrondissement, it now covers an area of 44 hectares… Originally, the area was purchased by the Jesuits in the seventeenth century to make it a place of convalescence. It was notably occupied by François d’Aix de La Chaise, said: “The Father La Chaise” (Père La Chaise), confessor of Louis XIV. The brother of Father La Chaise subsequently enlarged the area before having to sell it to pay a debt. First abandoned, the gardens were later purchased by the Prefect of the Seine in the eighteenth century.
In the nineteenth century, led by the Consul Napoleon Bonaparte, several new cemeteries were created to address the shortage of intramural burials: the cemeteries of Montmartre and Montparnasse were built along the outside of the city. In 1803, it is the Prefect of Paris who asked the architect Brongniart to transform the area that became the cemetery east of town. The cemetery was officially opened on 21 May 1804, with the first burial.
At the heart of the site, the famous Wall of Federated marked by 147 fighters of the Commune (1871) who were shot up against the wall represents the symbol of the struggle for ideas and for freedom.
Over the green roads, you come across the graves of famous men and women buried in the cemetery.
Père Lachaise Cemetery
You could find it weird to visit a cemetery and think being so famous in Paris is odd for a graveyard… Do not be mistaken: The Père Lachaise Cemetery is a wonderful Parisian landmark. Respect the eternal sleep of the slain but do not miss the tombs of countless well-known personalities: They are often flowery, and people from all over the world come here to pay tribute to the great men and women.Georges
How to get there
Père Lachaise Station, lines 2 and 3
Lines 60, 69, 102
- 13 million visitors a year 99%
- Incredibly detailed 80%
- Contains hidden mysteries 70%
Open every day, even on holidays
From March 16th to November 5th
Monday – Friday: 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Saturday: 8:30 am – 6:00 pm
Sunday and holidays: 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
From November 6th to March 15th
Monday – Friday: 8:00 am – 5:30 pm
Saturday: 8:30 am – 5:30 pm
Sunday and holidays: 9:00 am – 5:30 pm
1.) A hilltop village in Paris:
To the east of the cemetery, near the Edith Piaf square, just walk-around the “Rue du Capitaine Ferber” that will lead you to this rural enclave… in Paris. It is like going back to Paris before its industrialization. A magic experience.
2.) Far to the east, just outside Paris, you will meet a French folklore:
The Paris Flea Market (of Montreuil). There you will find quirky and unusual objects such as old clothes, tools and electrical devices as well as old books. It opens on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
Why it’s worth visiting
- Honore de Balzac, Apollinaire, Frederic Chopin, Colette, Jean-Francois Champollion, Jean de La Fontaine, Molière, Yves Montand, Simone Signoret, Jim Morrison, Alfred, Edith Piaf, Camille Pissarro, Oscar Wilde… all those public figures, eminent intellectuals or artists are buried in the Père Lachaise Cemetery. And each tomb is unique and more impressive than the other!