Little stories about Père-Lachaise Cemetery
In addition to being the largest cemetery in Paris, Père-Lachaise Cemetery is also the city’s most famous. Located in the 20th arrondissement, it is far from your average cemetery, firstly because of its tree-lined garden and its little winding paths interspersed with stairways. But it is also the most famous for the many celebrities interred there. Paris Attitude has decided to share with you the history and secrets of this must-visit spot in Paris.
Originally, Père Lachaise Cemetery was a place for strolling and relaxing, belonging to monks, the traces of this are still visible through the many romantic-style pathways. But in the 18th century, cemeteries within the city limits at that time were banned, and Paris needed burial grounds. After some major development work, the garden gave way to a cemetery, and since 1804 the “eastern cemetery” has filled its current role.
But what gives the place its distinctive appearance is the fact that so many famous personalities are buried there. Many visitors come to stroll among the tombs of Edith Piaf, Sarah Bernhardt, or Yves Montand.
If, like them, you would like to take a stroll there, you can request a guided tour at the cemetery entrance, or wander among the tombs, making sure to visit the best known graves.
The grave of singer Jim Morrison is overrun each year with thousands of visitors, diehard fans or just the curious, from around the world, to place flowers or flasks of liquor on his grave. An accursed artist who died under enigmatic circumstances, his death helped fuel his legend, and his gravestone is one of the most visited in Paris.
Oscar Wilde’s grave was very controversial. Admired or considered scandalous, in any case it leaves no one indifferent. Created by artist Jacob Epstein, the sculpture overhanging the tomb represents a nude, winged sphinx. Female admirers of the writer established a unique ritual for marking their visit to their idol: leaving a kiss-mark in lipstick on the statue, which partially damaged it. Today, following renovation work, the lipstick marks are no longer visible and the statue is now protected with a glass barrier.
The Tomb of Victor Noir is one of the graves in Père Lachaise tinged with strange beliefs. Indeed, over several years, many childless women have come to rub the very visible bulge in the statues pants, to break the curse of sterility! It’s mainly thanks to this tradition, still popular, that this grave is known.
Père-Lachaise Cemetery – Boulevard Ménilmontant, 75020 Paris.
Paris is overflowing with parks and gardens, each one different from the rest, where it is particularly pleasant to stroll on nice days. But if you are still looking for stories and amazing places to discover, why not visit the Catacombs ?