Would you consider the far-fetched idea of visiting a cemetery as a tourist attraction? There’s nothing to be scared of! In fact, if you do, you’ll be visiting the largest and most important cemetery in Paris. Once you get inside you’ll feel as if you are in a different world, but not a scary and lonely one. The cemetery receives over two million visitors per year from all around the world. Some of its graves have amazing and original art, something that is expected from a place that houses the remains of very famous people. Dare yourself to visit something different and visit for free: Pere Lachaise Cemetery.
Where to start?
The main entrance is located at Boulevard de Ménilmontant, only steps away from the metro station Philippe Auguste; however, if you prefer to go directly to the Oscar Wilde’s grave, you might want to enter by the second entrance located Avenue Gambetta. I recommend that you wear comfortable shoes to roam through this enormous cemetery of 110 acres (44.5 hectares). Picking up a map would be a wonderful idea, even though there is a huge map in the main entrance, is not an easy task to find the graves of the famous people amongst the 300,000 or more bodies buried there. An optimal visit may last up to two hours if you visit only the most famous graves; however, if you are interested in only a specific grave it might take you half of that time. Many attractions in Paris have additional costs, but Pere Lachaise is completely free!
A meeting with the past
Strolling the cemetery feels anything but morbid, there are hundreds of mausoleums and grave statues, most of them have unique designs such as grieving widows, angels, gothic tombs, obelisks, or lovely hands holding each other. There are many French personalities buried here such as Edith Piaf, Moliere and Jean de la Fontaine, Georges Bizet, Marcel Proust and many others. However, there are international personalities as well such as the American singer Jim Morrison and the Irish writer Oscar Wilde. Because Wilde’s grave is the most visited, it is now covered with glass after the original monument was covered with kisses and colorful messages – this hasn’t stopped admirers from writing their messages on the glass.
Plan your visit now!
Pere Lachaise Cemetery is not the only one in Paris; you can also visit Montmartre Cemetery, Montparnasse Cemetery, and Passy Cemetery. However, Pere Lachaise Cemetery was the first municipal cemetery that provided an alternative to the awful and unhygienic burial conditions throughout the city. It started with few dozens bodies and later was enlarged five fold due to high demand. A crematorium was also built, as well as the ‘Federalist’s Wall’, a monument dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust. After walking around this amazing place you may feel as though you want to be buried there as well, but nowadays the fees are extremely high and the rules are strict; you can only be buried if you lived your whole life in Paris or if you died there. If you are interested in a walking tour, I recommend you visit the cemetery on weekends when tours are offered.
Don't be afraid and live this unique experience
Take the chance to visit a unique and different spot in Paris during your next visit, your family and friends will love to visit something different. Entrance, beauty and photos are all free! Cheer up and visit the historically interesting and awesome Pere Lachaise Cemetery.
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