The Pere Lachaise Cemetery covers approximately 110 acres and is the largest cemetery that can be found within the city boundaries of Paris. Its size isn’t what makes it such a popular France tourist attraction, however. Resting at this "grandest address in Paris," as it has been called, are a slew of famous people. Ever year, their graves attract high numbers of tourists. So many, that the Pere Lachaise is widely considered to be the world’s most visited cemetery. You can find the Pere Lachaise Cemetery at 16 rue du Repos, 20e, Paris. To get there, many people rely on the metro. Among the closest metro stations are the Phillipe Auguste station and the Pere Lachaise station. It is also possible to take the metro to the Gambetta station, in which case you can enter the cemetery near the tomb of Oscar Wilde and then walk downhill through the rest of the affiliated terrain.
In 1804, the city of Paris purchased the land on which the Pere Lachaise Cemetery sits. This same year, Napoleon established the cemetery. It was originally laid out by Alexandre-Theodore Brongniart and extended in later years. The Pere Lachaise Cemetery officially opened on May 21, 1804, and the first person to be interred there was a five-year-old daughter of a bell-boy. Several other people were also buried at the Pere Lachaise Cemetery in 1804, but it wasn’t exactly filling up fast enough for the administrators. That same year, the decision was made by said administrators to transfer the remains of La Fontaine and Moliere to the cemetery. This got a lot of attention and caused a significant increase in burials at Pere Lachaise. Another marketing stunt of a similar kind occurred in 1817. That year, the purported remains of the famous 12th century lovers, Pierre Abelard and Heloise, were transferred to the cemetery. From there on, the desire to be buried at the Pere Lachaise Cemetery became quite popular. This explains why the cemetery has been expanded on multiple occasions.
Famous People Buried in Pere Lachaise Cemetery
Famous People Buried in Pere Lachaise Cemetery Image: gwhalin (flickr)
Oscar Wilde, La Fontaine, Moliere, Pierre Abelard, and Heloise are just a few of the famous people who are interred at Pere Lachaise. Others include, in no particular order, Honore de Balzac, Sarah Bernhardt, Edith Piaf, Georges Bizet, Maria Callas, and Chopin. Of course, no discussion about the Pere Lachaise Cemetery would be complete without also mentioning the graves of Jim Morrison and Gertrude Stein. The tomb of Jim Morrison is one of the most highly visited in the cemetery and is regularly guarded to keep graffiti and other nuisances to a minimum. As for the grave of Gertrude Stein, it features a gravestone that reads Gertrude Stein on one side and Alice B. Toklas on the other. For those who might not know, Alice B. Toklas was a lover and confidante of Gertrude Stein in life. In death, the two lie buried next to one another.