Cemeteries are creepy, right? Wrong. Père Lachaise Cemetery, located on the Boulevard de Menilmontant in Paris, is a beautiful place to site-see or take a leisurely stroll. Thousands of trees accompany hills and gardens making Père Lachaise Cemetery seem less like burial grounds and more like a pretty place for a walk.
Upon establishment by Napoleon, Père Lachaise Cemetery was regarded as too far away from the city to be a desirable final resting place. Just a few dozen people were buried in the cemetery at that point. Remains of La Fontaine, Moliere, Pierre Abelard and Heloise were moved to the cemetery in order to encourage others to use the space for their loved ones. Indeed, the plan worked and in just a few short years the number of people buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery shot up to over 30,000. Everyone wanted to be buried amongst the rich and famous.
Currently, over 300,000 people are buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery. Famous gravesites include those of Chopin, Jim Morrison, and Oscar Wilde. Other attractions include memorials to those who fought in the World Wars.
A book was written about the cemetery entitled Meet Me At Père Lachaise. The book’s website, perelachaisecemetery.com, has information, pictures, and even an iPhone App that can be downloaded for book and audio tours to use whilst in the cemetery. Because it is so large, it is smart to locate what you are hoping to see in Père Lachaise Cemetery on a map before you make your way through. This way you can personalize your visit and be sure to see the sites that are most important to you.
To get to Père Lachaise Cemetery, take the Metro from your Paris apartment to Philippe Auguste station on Line 2 for the main entrance. For the side entrance, take Line 3 to Père Lachaise station. Another option, favoured by many tourists, is to get off at Gambetta station on Line 3, which lets visitors enter near Oscar Wilde’s tomb and walk down hill as they view the rest of the cemetery.
Free maps are available at the cemetery, but guided tours are recommended if you’re looking to get complete information on Père Lachaise Cemetery. Call +33(0)140 717 560 in advance for more information.
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