Pere Lachaise Cemetery, located in Paris, France, is one of the best known and most visited cemeteries in the world. A visit here may sound like a macabre way to spend an afternoon, but a stroll among the tombstones and mausoleums can be fascinating.
Entering the cemetery is almost like entering another world. The traffic and the rush of city life falls away, replaced by the quietness and solemnity of the cemetery. Walking along the cobblestoned pathways in the shade of the trees can be calming and strangely beautiful. Take your time to read the headstones, take some photos, and consider the history of this place.
History of Pere Lachaise Cemetery
The cemetery was established by Napolean and opened in May 1804. Since this time, the cemetery has been enlarged several times and is now estimated to hold over 1 million bodies. Pere Lachaise continues to accept new burials, although getting your name on this list is extremely difficult. In order to be buried in Pere Lachaise Cemetery, you have to have lived and died in a French capital city. Even then, your name gets put onto a waiting list. This is a place where people truly are “dying to get in.”
Pere Lachaise Cemetery Photos
Entrance to the cemetery
Visiting Pere Lachaise Cemetery
When To Go: The cemetery is open every day of the week, from about 8:30 am to 5:30 pm, hours varying depending on the season and day of the week. For more complete information about opening times, click here.
Cost: The visit is free!
How To Get Here: The Pere Lachaise metro stop is located very close to the main entrance of the cemetery. Another option would be to get off at the Gambetta Station, located to the rear of the cemetery. From Gambetta, it is a downhill walk through the cemetery to the entrance.
Famous People Buried in Pere Lachaise: Occupants include Moliere, Oscar Wilde, Honore de Balzac, Georges Bizet, Sarah Bernhardt, Frederic Chopin, and Marcel Proust. One of the most famous is Jim Morrison. Maps are available online and at the entrance to the cemetery (take a picture of it with your smartphone and use this as your guide). Decide ahead of time if you are going to plan out a route, visiting these famous burial sites, or just wander among the cobblestoned lanes.
How Long Should I Plan on Visiting?: Allow at least two hours, longer if you plan on touring the entire cemetery and searching for the famous occupants.
Going to Paris With Kids?: For more information about what to do in Paris with kids, check out our post, Ten Fun Things To Do in Paris with Kids.
More Information for Your Trip to France:
- PARIS ITINERARY: 3 Days in Paris: The Ultimate Paris Itinerary
- BEST OF PARIS: The Paris Bucket List: 45 Must-Have Experiences in Paris
- EASTER IN PARIS: Easter in Paris: How to Have the Best Experience
- FRENCH RIVIERA: 10 Day French Riviera & Provence Itinerary
- LONDON PARIS AMSTERDAM: 10 Day London Paris Amsterdam Itinerary
Planning a trip to France? Read all of our articles in our France Travel Guide.
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