It’s no secret that visiting cemeteries is one of the things I enjoy the most. This could sound morbid to some, but keep in mind that European cemeteries are places full of art, history and beautiful trees. Opened in 1804, Père Lachaise is the most visited cemetery in the world, located in the 20th arrondissement on Boulevard de Mènilmontant in Paris.
I have collected 5 tips for you to visit this fascinating place, the largest cemetery in the city of Paris:
1. Take your time
Visiting a cemetery is a unique experience. You will be projected in another dimension for some time – where you will also find yourself thinking about life and death… It definitely takes 2-4 hours to visit so I suggest you to go to Père Lachaise in the morning and keep the rest of the day free. You are in Paris, you will easily find something to do later!
2. Arrive here
Visiting the cemetery is free. You can arrive by Metro at Philippe Auguste station, which is the closest by foot to the main entrance. Here you can pick up a free cemetery map which is quite difficult to read, so it’s better to print one beforehand. You can easily find more detailed maps online. There is also a virtual map you can see on this website. If you want to enjoy a walk downhill, get off at the Gambetta station, that leads straight to the back entrance of the cemetery.
3. Plan/don’t plan the visit
The cemetery extends 44 hectares and contains 70,000 burial plots! I suggest to mark the graves you want to see on your printed map: this way you will not miss anything. Find also some time to wander along the paths to discover little known tombs and look closely at the adornments. Find your favourite way to visit the cemetery and get lost among the roads.
4. Discover the art
Historic cemeteries are the perfect place to admire evocative sculptures and statues. You will find several examples of different architectural and funerary art styles such as Neo-baroque, Gothique, Monumental, mausoleums and many more! Don’t miss the Neoclassical Crematorium (erected in 1823) and the Colombarium (1894) with its Neo-Byzantine architecture.
5. Look for the celebrities!
The Père Lachaise is known for the notable personalities buried here. One of the best parts of this place is looking for their graves that often reveal the profession of the deceased. Some of the tombs are covered with presents from their admirers! Here you will find the graves of Oscar Wilde, Nadar, Jim Morrison, Chopin, Guillaume Apollinaire, Honoré de Balzac, Eugène Delacroix just to name a few!
So I hope you will find these tips interesting and useful!