Cimetière du Père Lachaise in Paris, France

The Cimetière du Père Lachaise in the east of Paris was the first cemetery in the world to be designed as a park. Today, the city's largest cemetery is one of the most visited sights in Paris because of its prominent gravesites.

Covering an area of 43 hectares, the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise is the largest cemetery in Paris. It is visited by around 2 million people every year, including many followers of famous personalities who are buried in the widely known cemetery. The "City of the Dead" is one of our top 10 sights in Paris.


PICTURES: Cimetière du Père Lachaise in Paris

Photo gallery: Cimetière du Père-Lachaise in Paris

Creation of the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise

The Cimetière du Père Lachaise in Paris was created in the early 19th century and is visited by 2 million people a year, France - © Kiev.Victor / Shutterstock
© Kiev.Victor / Shutterstock

The cemetery takes its name from Father François d'Aix, the former confessor (Père La Chaise) of Louis XV. He had established his retirement residence in a former Jesuit estate. After Robert Damiens' assassination attempt on the French king, the Jesuits were expelled from the country. The buildings remained empty and were eventually bought by Napoleon.

At the beginning of the 19th century, an edict was issued according to which cemeteries no longer had to be administered by the church but by the municipality. Thus the four large cemeteries of Paris were created: Passy in the centre, Montmartre in the north, Montparnasse in the south and Pére-Lachaise in the east. On 21 May 1804, the first funeral took place in the latter, where a five-year-old girl was laid to rest.

Visit to the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise

Under vaults of treetops, visitors to the Père-Lachaise cemetery in Paris discover a veritable labyrinth of corridors, alleys and paths, France - © Maxal Tamor / Shutterstock
© Maxal Tamor / Shutterstock

The extensive cemetery is not only a contemplative city of the dead, but also a magnificent landscape garden with idyllic trees. Within its approximately 70,000 graves, it invites you to stroll and discover. In addition to graves of world-famous musicians, actors and politicians, the architecture of the sometimes spectacular tombstones and magnificent chapels should not be overlooked.

Under vaults of treetops, the visitor is confronted with a veritable labyrinth of corridors, alleys and paths, which, according to legends, were not always only used for devotion. There has already been talk of black masses, forbidden rituals and vampirism here, and indeed it is hard to escape the mystical magic of the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise.

Famous tombs at the Cemetière Père-Lachaise

Frédéric Chopin's gravesite at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, France - © Claudia Carlsen / Shutterstock
© Claudia Carlsen / Shutterstock

The cemetery is still a place of pilgrimage for all the great names buried under the numerous crosses. Devotees and followers make pilgrimages to the gravesites of their idols and models all year round. While some of them surprise with their simplicity, some gravesites are decorated with elaborate works of art.

Among the most famous are the graves of screen legend Edith Piaf, composer Frédéric Chopin, homeopathy inventor Samuel Hahnemann, writers Moulière and Oscar Wilde, or rock star Jim Morrison, once lead singer of the band "The Doors".

Oscar Wilde's grave at the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris, France, is littered with kissing mouths - © Jaime Pharr / Shutterstock
© Jaime Pharr / Shutterstock

The grave of Oscar Wilde is one of the most worth seeing gravesites, which was decorated with countless kissing mouths and graffiti hearts by numerous admirers. Since the renovation in 2011, however, there has been an absolute ban on kissing!

Related links:

Official website of the Cimetière du Père Lachaise

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