Paris’ largest and most prestigious cemetery, the Père Lachaise Cemetery (Cimetière du Père Lachaise) was founded in 1804. Today it contains more than 70,000 ornate tombs, including those of some of France’s most important public figures.
The grand, tree-lined avenues and cobblestone lanes of the Père Lachaise Cemetery make a dramatic backdrop for a walking tour, and the faded headstones and aging monuments harbor centuries of history. With more than 110 acres (44 hectares) to explore, visiting with a tour guide is the most convenient option, and most small-group or private tours stop at all the highlights, including Jim Morrison’s grave.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Admission to the Père Lachaise Cemetery is free.
- The cemetery is wheelchair accessible, although some areas may be difficult to access without assistance.
- Cemetery maps are available for free from the information office at the Boulevard de Ménilmontant entrance.
How to Get There
The Père Lachaise Cemetery is located in Paris’ 11th arrondissement, around 3 miles (5km) east of downtown Paris. The cemetery has four entrances; the main entrance is on Boulevard de Ménilmontant, close to the Philippe Auguste metro stop (line 2). Other entrances are situated close to the Père-Lachaise (lines 2 and 3), Gambetta (line 3), and Alexandre Dumas (line 2) metro stations.
When to Get There
The cemetery is open year round and is busiest in summer, when group tours descend on to the most popular sites. To avoid the crowds, time your visit for the early morning or aim for 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m., when most tours break for lunch.
Famous Residents of the Père Lachaise
Père Lachaise is the resting place of renowned composers, writers, artists, actors, singers, dancers, and even the immortal 12th-century lovers Abélard and Héloïse. One of the most-visited grave sites is that of rock star Jim Morrison of the Doors, who died in an apartment on rue Beautreillis in the Marais in 1971. Others include Oscar Wilde, Maria Callas, Chopin, Marcel Proust, Modigliani, Edith Piaf, Gertrude Stein, and Georges Haussmann—the man who laid out Paris's magnificent 19th-century boulevards.