I love France #22: Père Lachaise Cemetery


I plan to publish this meme every Thursday.
You can share here about any book
or anything cultural you just discovered related to France, Paris, etc.

Please spread the news on Twitter, Facebook, etc !
Feel free to grab my button,
and link your own post through Mister Linky,
at the bottom of this post.


One of the things I have always wanted to visit in Paris is the famous Père Lachaise Cemetery.

Père Lachaise Cemetery (French: Cimetière du Père-Lachaise, [simtjɛːʁ dy pɛːʁ laʃɛːz]; officially, cimetière de l’Est, “East Cemetery”) is the largest cemetery in the city of Paris, France (44 hectares (110 acres)),though there are larger cemeteries in the city’s suburbs.

Père Lachaise is in the 20th arrondissement, and is reputed to be the world’s most visited cemetery, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors annually to the graves of those who have enhanced French life over the past 200 years. It is also the site of three World War I memorials.

The cemetery is on Boulevard de Ménilmontant. The Paris Métro station Philippe Auguste on line 2 is next to the main entrance, while the station called Père Lachaise, on both lines 2 and 3, is 500 metres away near a side entrance. Many tourists prefer the Gambetta station on line 3, as it allows them to enter near the tomb of Oscar Wilde and then walk downhill to visit the rest of the cemetery.


The cemetery takes its name from the confessor to Louis XIV, Père François de la Chaise (1624–1709), who lived in the Jesuit house rebuilt in 1682 on the site of the chapel. The property, situated on the hillside from which the king during the Fronde, watched skirmishing between the Condé and Turenne, was bought by the city in 1804. Established by Napoleon in this year, the cemetery was laid out by Alexandre-Théodore Brongniart, and later extended.

Père Lachaise Cemetery was opened on 21 May 1804. The first person buried there was a five-year-old girl named Adélaïde Pailliard de Villeneuve, the daughter of a bell-ringer of the Faubourg St. Antoine – I tried to understand what this bell-ringer was about, the closest thing I could come was some kind of position at a police station, maybe!
Napoleon Bonaparte as a consul declared that “Every citizen has the right to be buried regardless of race or religion”.

Although some sources incorrectly estimate the number of interred as 300,000 in Père Lachaise, (I believe that’s the number of the major graves), according to official website of the city of Paris; to date, one million people have been buried there.Along with the stored remains in the Aux Morts ossuary, the number of human remains exceeds 2–3 million in Père Lachaise cemetery.

There are lots of very famous people buried there, not only French, though my photos focus on French people, for the most part

Edith Piaf                                          Henri Salvador

A very popular grave is Edith Piaf‘s  – by the way please say [éditt], like the French, do not pronounce the ‘th’. We had some difficulty finding her, but then we just followed a large group of tourist with their tour guide. Easy!

And we stumbled upon Henri Salvador, another famous French singer, though of course not as popular oversees.

And there are writers!

Marcel Proust                                                                          Colette

Marcel Proust’s link goes to one of my reviews of his great work.

Two other famous people, or rather 3!

Oscar Wilde’s has been visited by so many people who wanted to leave track of their coming, that it is now protected with plexiglass. It does not stop his admirers to leave their red lips kisses and many more graffitis. It is one of the most visited tombs, with some wild parties going on around it sometimes…

But I was much more attracted by this one:

This is the grave of Héloïse and Abélard, probably the most famous lovers of the Middle Ages.

I could go on and on, and you can find a gallery here, and see the list of the most famous people buried there (scroll down to the Burials section.)

I would like to show you now a few whimsical sights:

This is probably the best representation of the expression “time flies” I have ever seen!

Child represented with his dog                     Inventor with his machine!

Memorial to the victims of the Flossenburg concentration camp

I was really intrigued by this one:

It says that the people buried there died at 28,000 feet! I was intrigued and then read that they had been the victims of a balloon accident!

Some tombs are very artistic:

Tomb of an Orthodox prince

Some cool statues:

And some more general views:

If you want more and see by yourself, there’s a fantastic virtual tour, you can see absolutely everything, choose the tombs you want to visit, and wander from street to street.




If you link your own post on France,
please if possible
include the title of the book or topic in your link:
name of your blog (name of the book title or topic).


30 thoughts on “I love France #22: Père Lachaise Cemetery

  1. Thank you for the great pictures. When I lived 4 years in the Ramstein, Germany area, I took the bus as often as possible (about 8 times with and without my children) to beautiful Paris. The ONLY area I was confused in the Metro to get back to the Orsay was from Pere Lachaise. I also had to catch the bus back to Germany, so I missed a great deal of the cemetery. Didn’t realize at the time so many famous people were interned there.Thanks so much.


  2. This is great and the pics are breathtaking. Did you know Alyce from At Home With Books does a Saturday meme called Saturday Snapshots? This would be a great place to link up your pictures as well – they are really good.


    • This is funny, I know, as I follow her as well, but never thought of linking my pictures, I guess not daring joining another meme, plus more difficult to blog during the week-end for me. Thanks, I will reconsider


  3. Pingback: I love France #22: Père Lachaise Cemetery « Words And Peace | Connaître la communication narrative

  4. I’ve just started a new project on France and French things – I’m learning the language and reading as many books about France and French lifestyle as I can find. I love your blog and will try to link up to your meme when I can. I live near London but don’t get to France as often as I would like! Polly


    • Good for you! And I just added you to my google reader to follow your beautiful blog. if you are looking for extra resources to become fluent in French, don’t hesitate to ask. I have found tonsof them, for free online. for instance, you say you listen to French radio. do you know you can also watch French tv channels for free online. I would recommend watching le Journal télévisé of tf1. it’s exactly as the french watch it at 1:30 pm or 8:00 pm daily. it is on tf1.fr. click on “revoir le JT” under the big moving picture. if you cannot find it, google it, it will lead you the tf1 links.
      it’s actually easier to watch tv than listen to the radio, because of the visual support. I always recommend this to my students.
      there are also things online where you can connect for free [again with skype] with French people who would like to learn English. when you “meet”, both of you speak English for 30 mn, and then 30 mn in French for both of you. a student of mine does this also, so if you are interested, I could give you the links to that type of things
      another great tool is a visual dictionary. you choose a topic, there are a lot, and then just put your mouse over the different things: you will not only see their spelling, but also hear how they are pronounced! here is the link: http://www.languageguide.org/french/vocabulary/
      ask if you need something specific.
      and if you need conversation with a French native, we can arrange something. i have lots of online students, we use skype [free to install and use – you do NOT need a webcam, just hearphones]. my fee is $20/hour.
      I could have written all this in French, but am not sure what your level is so far.


      • This is all brilliant, and so helpful thank you! I’m really just a beginner, I did the O level at school but that was over 20 years ago, and I haven’t really used French since. So I’m starting all over again. It’s amazing what’s flooding back though! Thank you for all these resources, I will start working my way through.


        • You are most welcome. Just ask if you need anything else. There are also tons of fun, free, and easy interactive games for French beginners. When I have time…, one of my dreams is to post these lists of great resources I use daily with my students. Yes, whatever language you stored in your brain many years before comes back when prompted.


  5. Hello Emma! I just mentioned your feature on my blog! I have a weekly feature called French Friday, so I thought I’d talk about I Love France! I discovered your blog recently, via Thyme for Tea. 🙂


    I started French Friday back in 2009. I took a break from blogging last year and came back to it recently. Next week will be my 50th French Friday, so I’ll be having a French giveaway, if you’re interested!

    I’ve lived in Paris for five years but only visited the Père Lachaise once… For Jim Morrison, mainly… 🙂 Lovely pictures!

    Happy blogging!


    • Thanks so much Charlotte for highlighting my meme. I’m now following you and the other bloggers you mentioned. I also just sent you an email for a possible French Friday guest post! glad to have you back in the blogoshpere, a fun place to live in!


  6. I’ve been to Paris 10 times and I’m embarassed to admit that I’ve never visited Pere Lachaise Cemetery. Your photos are gorgeous. What a clear sky you had on your visit.
    I know, from the Paris in July meme, that you love everything about France like I do, so I wanted to tell you about my book The Summer of France which is now available Here on Kindle or
    Here on Nook or
    Here in Paperback


    • so you have something for your next Paris visit!
      we had an extraordinary early Spring in France, so unusual, no rain.
      your book sounds very interesting indeed. would you consider sending a free copy for me to review? let me know


  7. Pingback: Book review: The Crypt Thief – I love France #168 | Words And Peace

  8. Pingback: Book review: The Book Artist | Words And Peace

What do you think? Share your thoughts, and I will answer you. I will also visit your own blog

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.