If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of central Paris, take a side trip to Paris’s most famous cemetery, Pere Lachaise. Not surprisingly, it’s one of the most peaceful places in Paris and a beautiful area to wander and admire the final resting places of the city’s former residents.
I always thought it was strange to visit a cemetery just to admire the surrounds but Pere Lachaise isn’t like any other cemetery. You can visit to check out the celebrity residents like Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, or Oscar Wilde (amongst many others) or to commemorate those who lost their lives for their country. Or you can just admire the fascinating and unusual tomb art work on display.
To get to Pere Lachaise, take metro line 2 or 3 and get off at station Pere Lachaise. Before you go in, pick up one of the maps at the entrance (for a couple of euros) to help you find tombstones of interest and to reduce your chances of getting lost in this massive cemetery.
Jim Morrison is probably the most famous person to be buried at Pere Lachaise and no doubt the most visited.
Oscar Wilde is also buried here and his tombstone is one of the most unusual. Women (I assume it’s women) say goodbye to Mr Wilde with a kiss.
Much loved Frenchie, Edith Piaf has a simple gravestone:
If it’s unusual you want, check out these two memorials:
There are many memorials dedicated to those who fought in the great wars and were part of the Resistance in Paris. Other memorials are for those who were killed in Nazi concentration camps like Auschwitz and Ravensbruck:
I was lucky enough to have Karin guide me around the cemetery and she explained many of the stories behind the graves and memorials.
Abelard and Heloise – forbidden love kept these two physically apart for 20 years but they kept their love alive by correspondence. They were moved to Pere Lachaise by Josephine Bonaparte who was moved by their romantic story and wanted to see the lovers reunited for eternity.
Wall of the Federalists – The Paris Commune of 1871 – where around 200 Parisian insurgents were lined up and shot.
Designs by Hector Guimard – the architect famous for Paris’s art nouveau metro stations also designed a number of tombs in the cemetery.
There’s lots more to see, depending on what your interests are. It’s definitely worth visiting if you want to get off the beaten path in Paris.