Spending time in a graveyard may not be high on many travelers’ list of things to do. But it can be one of the most fascinating places to visit when in Paris. The City of Light is home to at least two popular cemeteries known as resting places of numerous luminaries and famous people in the field of art, architecture, music, politics, theatre, and more. If you have not visited any cemetery yet in your travels, Cimetière du Père Lachaise is a great place to start. And here are some of the reasons why:
Cemetery and park
Cimetière du Père Lachaise or Père Lachaise Cemetery covers a vast area that spans roughly 110 acres. This makes this the largest park cemetery in the city. Despite being a major attraction in its own right, Père Lachaise Cemetery maintains a quiet and peaceful atmosphere which makes it an idyllic urban getaway. Its sheer size and the huge number of tombs and grave sites can be overwhelming. Make sure to get a map from the office near the Boulevard de Mènilmontant entrance to help you get your bearings.
Final resting place of many famous people
Thousands of people are buried in the cemetery. Some of its most visited tombs are that of Oscar Wilde, Abelard and Heloise, Chopin, Colette, Gertrude Stein, Honoré de Balzac, Jim Morrison, and Molière among many others. Many of the grave sites may have names that do not ring a bell, but they can still be eye-catching, fascinating, and impressive for varied reasons.
The architecture and scenery
A cemetery may seem like a morbid place to be drawn into. But Père Lachaise Cemetery has a certain pull that make it an inviting place for quiet reflections and meanderings. It is easy to spend more time in it than initially intended. The beautiful and diverse architecture combined with the picturesque cobblestone streets lined with verdant trees, and tranquil atmosphere all make for a relaxing and contemplative space.
Accessible and solo traveler-friendly
One of the best things about Père Lachaise Cemetery is its accessibility. Getting there by Metro, visitors can get off at Philippe-Auguste station, Gambetta station, or at Pere Lachaise station. From there, it will only be a short walk towards the cemetery. For those who wish to travel by bus, take the bus number 26, 54, 60, 61, 64, 69, 76, or 102.