Pere Lachaise

Sat in the 20th arrondissement of Paris is the largest cemetery in the city. It’s famous for its celebrity “guests” but its much more than that. It covers a site of almost 17 hectares and counts 70,000 “concessions” or plots on the site. There are also huge numbers of plaques in lieu of ashes. There are no official guides to the cemetery, but in summer you can find plenty of people just outside who’ll happily take your money for a guided walk around if you wish. Although I speak French, I didn’t speak to anyone during my visit, I simply looked at the maps that are dotted around, and worked out where I wanted to go. Not difficult at all.

It was a cold day when I visited, cold in every sense. It was the day after the shootings at the Charlie Hebdo office, and the weather resembled the national mood, dark, overbearing, cold and bleak

A short walk from a metro took me to the front gates, where, just inside, I found the first map and worked out my route.


I knew that he was buried here:


although not why (to be investigated).

And her:


And was aware that Oscar Wilde finally laid his head here too:


What I hadn’t realised though, was that Pere Lachaise is also the national cemetery of France, a little similar to Arlington for any Americans reading this.

There are national monuments to air disasters, to the French Jews, deported during WW2  to various camps and this one:


I was very surprised to see this one here. The site where this took place is no more than 10 miles from my house. Its a well known site, one that’s remembered locally every year on Remembrance Day and commemorates the 27 prisoners killed by the Nazis towards the end of the war. Guy Moquet was only a young man but became one of the symbols of French resistance during the war.

Cemeteries aren’t places of joy, and Pere Lachaise, the day after the horrific events of January 7th 2015 was especially sombre, but it was definitely worth the couple of hours I spent there. Its a place of silence and solitude, allowing reflection.


About bobleponge216

Elderly rotund toothless male seeks wilderness to travel to.
This entry was posted in Living In France, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Pere Lachaise

  1. Nikki says:

    Cemeteries, especially old ones, are interesting places.
    For what it’s worth, I believe Jim Morrison was living in France at the time of his death. Although it’s been twenty years since I read it, I remember the Morrison biography “No One Here Gets Out Alive” being a fascinating read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They really are, I wandered around one in Stockholm recently, I find it fascinating to see not only the ages and generations buried together, but also those disparate souls who, logically, have no place being interred so far from home.


  2. Sartenada says:

    In Paris this is “must to visit”. Last May we visited it for the third time.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s