P̬re-Lachaise Cemetery РA free Paris Attraction

Paris is known for her beautiful, serene cemeteries. They usually double up as open museums, where some of the world’s most famous are resting. Therefore I recommend visiting the  Père-Lachaise Cemetery; it’s a free Paris attraction with lots of history.

Located on a gentle hill, the walk around this Paris attractions can be fairly exhausting. But the thick, leafy trees and winding cobblestone lanes make it a beautiful one.

The cemetery is named after Père de la Chaise, confessor to King Louis XIV. The present day cemetery used to house a Jesuit order, and this is where the priest lived.

The cemetery was opened in 1804, but because of its location (a fair distance from the heart of Paris) it wasn’t used much. It took much campaigning by Napoleon, who was worried about the unsanitary condition caused by Paris’s over crowded cemeteries, to encourage its use. This included relocating a number of graves of famous Parisians from other cemeteries to this one.

Some tombstones are elaborate and works of art. Others have a simple sophistication to them. Some though have been forgotten and are in conditions of disrepair, and yet that doesn’t translate into an eyesore. They still retain their elegance.

With thousands of graves and tombstones here, things can get jumbled. The chaos of multiple gravestones though is offset by neat street names and direction boards.

Père-Lachaise is the resting place for a number of celebrities. The most popular resident (or at least the most visited by tourists) is Jim Morrison. Other big names include Chopin, Proust, Colette, and Oscar Wilde.

While entry to the cemetery is free, I’d recommend arming yourself with a cemetery map. It is easy to get lost inside and a map makes it a little easier to find the tombstones you want to see without spending hours and hours wandering around, unless that’s the whole idea of the visit of course.

More Paris Tips

Paris is in Europe a la Carte’s top ten European cities to visit. Read our “Best of Paris Tips” to help you plan your visit to this lovely city. Find out about must-see Paris museums.

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