Ever since I was a little boy, I’ve heard about the Père-Lachaise cemetery. Home to the graves of some of the most famous people in French history, it is the most famous cemetery in France.
If you’d like to visit, read this article. It will give you all the information you need.
Père-Lachaise Cemetery: the cemetery that has become a Parisian attraction
Inaugurated in 1804, Père-Lachaise Cemetery stands majestically on a hill in eastern Paris.
At over 44 hectares, it’s the city’s largest cemetery. But don’t be fooled into thinking it’s just a burial ground!
It’s a place rich in history, where celebrities and historical figures are laid to rest. Among them are Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde, and Jim Morrison.
Every tombstone, every monument, every mausoleum tells a unique story, an ode to life and death, a tribute to human perseverance.
Père-Lachaise Cemetery is a place of memory, art, beauty, and silence, well worth a visit. When the weather’s fine, many visitors stroll the aisles.
What can you see at Père-Lachaise Cemetery?
Among the other graves of Père-Lachaise cemetery, you can see those of:
- Frédéric Chopin: The famous Polish composer and pianist has his final resting place at Père-Lachaise. His funerary monument, adorned with a weeping muse, is one of the cemetery’s most visited.
- Marcel Proust: The French writer, famous for his work “À la recherche du temps perdu,” is also buried in this cemetery.
- Jim Morrison: The Leader of The Doors, a place of pilgrimage for rock fans the world over
- Oscar Wilde: A monument to the Irish author covered with kisses left by fans.
- Honoré de Balzac: The monument to the famous French novelist and playwright is a large statue of the writer in the robe, the work of sculptor Auguste Rodin.
- Molière and La Fontaine: Although they died before the cemetery was opened, the remains of these two French literary figures were transferred to Père-Lachaise in the 19th century.
- Edith Piaf: The famous French singer, often associated with songs such as “La Vie en rose” and “Non, je ne regrette rien,” has her grave here. It is a place of pilgrimage for many fans.
- Georges Bizet: The composer of the opera Carmen is also buried in Père-Lachaise. His monument is decorated with reliefs depicting scenes from his operas.
- Sarah Bernhardt: Considered one of the finest actresses of all time, Sarah Bernhardt’s tomb is distinguished by a high bronze relief depicting the actress asleep.
- Gertrude Stein: This American writer, a key figure in modern literature and the Paris art movement, also lies here.
Among the monuments of note, the Memorial des Martyrs de la Déportation is a poignant tribute to the memory of the victims of deportation during the Second World War. The cemetery is also home to several war memorials well worth a visit.
Aside from visiting the tombs, the cemetery itself is a wonderful place for a peaceful stroll. The winding alleys, lined with majestic trees and monuments, offer unexpected tranquility in the heart of Paris.
How much does it cost to enter Père-Lachaise Cemetery?
Access to a cemetery is free. You can enter freely and walk the aisles.
To learn more and find the graves of famous people, it’s best to take a guided tour.
How long does a visit to Père-Lachaise Cemetery last?
It all depends on you. Some people spend thirty minutes in the cemetery, while others walk around for half a day.
Where is the Père-Lachaise Cemetery Museum located?
The exact address is 16 Rue du Repos, 75020 Paris.
How do I get to Père-Lachaise Cemetery?
By car, you can reach the cemetery via the Paris ring road, by taking the Porte de Bagnolet exit.
By public transport, take metro line 2 or 3 to Père-Lachaise station. The cemetery is just a few minutes’ walk from the station.
What are the opening hours of Père-Lachaise Cemetery?
Opening hours of Père-Lachaise cemetery are
- Monday to Friday: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Saturday: 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
- Sunday: 9a.m. to 6p.m.
My opinion on Père-Lachaise Cemetery: is it a good visit?
I spent two hours in the Père-Lachaise Cemetery, and I must admit it was a rather singular experience.
On the one hand, the place is undeniably imbued with beauty and serenity. I was particularly struck by three tombs which, to my eyes, were magnificent.
The first was that of Frédéric Chopin. I’ve always been a fan of his music, and seeing his tomb, adorned with a weeping muse, touched me in an unexpected way.
Next, Oscar Wilde’s grave, a veritable artistic monument covered in lipstick laid down by his many admirers, struck me as strangely poetic. Finally, I was surprised by the simplicity of Jim Morrison’s grave, whose contrast with his flamboyant life struck me as particularly poignant.
However, I did feel a certain unease. Usually, when I go to a cemetery, it’s to visit the graves of my loved ones. I go there to show respect, to remember, and sometimes to cry… But here I found myself wandering among the graves of complete strangers like a tourist visiting a museum. It felt strange.
So, would I recommend a visit to Père-Lachaise Cemetery? Yes, for its historical and cultural aspects, it’s a must. But I’d suggest you do it with a certain respect for the place and its deceased. Remember that you’re not in a park or a museum, but in a place of rest.
What else can you do near Père-Lachaise Cemetery?
After your visit to Père-Lachaise Cemetery, why not explore the surrounding area?
Here are a few suggestions:
- A trip to Belleville Park
- The Edith Piaf Museum
- The Ménilmontant district
- Saint-Germain de Charonne church
- L’Atelier des Lumières
- Buttes-Chaumont Park
- The Museum of Modern Art…