A Place of Repose, and Poetry:
One doesn't usually associate a cemetery with a romantic stroll-- but a visit to Pere-Lachaise begs exactly that. Tucked away in a corner of northeastern Paris known to locals as Menilmontant, the cemetery is affectionately called la cite des morts-- the city of the dead-- by Parisians. With its rolling, gentle hills, thousands of trees in dozens of varieties, winding paths with carefully plotted "street" names, and elaborate sepulchers and tombs, it's easy to see why Pere-Lachaise is considered Paris' most hauntingly beautiful place of rest. If that weren't a convincing enough reason to go for a stroll there, great figures have their resting place here, including Chopin, Proust, Colette, or Jim Morrison. No wonder, then, that a cemetery makes our list of the top ten Paris attractions.
- Principal entry: Rue de Repos, "Porte du Répos". Metro Philippe Auguste
- Secondary entry: "Porte des Amandiers". Metro Père-Lachaise
- Secondary entry: Rue des Rondeaux, "Porte Gambetta". Metro Gambetta
- By bus: Lines 26 or 76.
- Located in the 20th arrondissement, nearby Belleville and Oberkampf.
Contact Information and Opening Hours:
Visit the website (Free virtual visit and interactive map)
- Mid-March through early November: 7:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Mon.-Friday; 8:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Saturday; 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Sunday and bank holidays.
- Mid-November through early March: 8:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Mon.-Friday; 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday; 9:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Sunday and bank holidays.
Guided Tours and Maps:
- Guided tours are available by advance telephone reservations.
Price: 3 Euros (children), 6 Euros (adult) (approx. $4-$8).
- Free maps are available at the principal entries (Porte des Amandiers and Porte Gambetta.) You can also take a fascinating virtual tour of the cemetery ahead of your visit.
- A partial index of famous graves with direct links to locations on the map.
Key Facts about Pere Lachaise Cemetery:
- The cemetery was named after Père de la Chaise, who was King Louis IV's confessor. The priest resided in a Jesuit residence that stood at the site of the present-day chapel.
- The Emperor Napoleon I inaugurated the cemetery in 1804. In order to mark the new cemetery as a place of prestige, the remains of French playwright Molière and famous lovers Abelard and Heloise were transferred to Pere Lachaise in the early 19th century.
- Housing some 300,000 graves, Pere-Lachaise is Paris' largest cemetery and one of the globe's most-visited cemeteries, with hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.
- Try to go on a sunny day. Pere-Lachaise can be a remarkably wonderful place to amble in the sun. In the spring and summer, the greenery and blooms make for a picturesque visit. Enjoy the play of light and shadow on the tombs.
- Familiarize yourself with the cemetery ahead of time and choose a few sites you'd like to visit. You'll get more out of your stroll that way.
- Make sure to walk up the hill to the cemetery's summit. Beautiful views of Père-Lachaise and parts of Paris can be had from the hilltop.
Pictures of the Cemetery:
War Monuments: Southeast Corner
- One of Pere-Lachaise's more moving features is its memorial to World War II Deportees and Resistants. The five monuments are located in the cemetery's southeast corner, near the "Porte de la Reunion" entrance.
- Another historic war site is the Communard's Wall (Mur des Fédérés, where nearly 150 people were massacred during the last week of the Paris Commune in 1871.
A Few Famous Graves
- Mideastern Section/Principal Entry:
- Colette (writer)
- Alfred de Musset (poet)
- Baron Haussmann (19th-century architect who designed modern Paris
- Frédéric Chopin (classical musician)
- South-Central Section:
- Molière, La Fontaine (playwrights)
- Victor Hugo (writer)
- Jim Morrison (American rock musician)
- Sarah Bernhardt (actress)
- Northern Section:
- Richard Wright (American writer)
- Isadora Duncan (American dancer)
- Marcel Proust (writer)
- Delacroix (painter)
- Guillaume Apollinaire (poet)
- Balzac (writer)
- Far-east and Southeast Corner:
- Oscar Wilde (Irish writer)
- Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas (American writers)
- Edith Piaf (musician)
- Modigliani (Italian painter)
- Paul Eluard (poet)