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What is Pere Lachaise Cemetery Famous for?

Niki Acker
By
Updated May 23, 2024
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Pere Lachaise cemetery, located in Paris, France, is the largest cemetery in the city and one of the most visited cemeteries in the world. At Pere Lachaise, one can visit the graves of numerous celebrities from the realms of history, music, literature, art, theatre, and science. In addition, the cemetery contains five World War I memorials, boasts beautiful landscaping and a romantic atmosphere, and offers a rich variety of funerary art from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

The origins of Pere Lachaise cemetery as a final resting place for the famous began when the cemetery was first opened in 1804. Pere Lachaise was one of many cemeteries opened during this time outside the center of Paris in response to a ban on cemeteries within the capital, which were considered a health hazard. The popularity and prestige of the cemetery was something of a marketing scheme by the Napoleonic government, as the remains of 17th century French authors La Fontaine and Moliere were moved there the same year it was opened. This stunt was followed 13 years later by the interment of the legendary Medieval lovers Heloise and Abelard, accompanied by a spectacular monument in their honor. This cemetery quickly became the most popular place in Paris to be buried.

Today, tourists from all over the world visit this cemetery for its unique atmosphere and its famous grave sites. The distinction of most visited grave goes to that of Jim Morrison, American songwriter and lead singer of The Doors. Due to continued vandalism, his grave is now under constant surveillance by a security guard. Other entertainers buried here include French singer Edith Piaf, American dancer Isidora Duncan, and actors Sarah Bernhardt, Yves Montand, and Simone Signoret.

Many of the famous tombs in Pere Lachaise house the remains of those who have contributed to the world of high culture. Famous authors include Honore de Balzac, Marcel Proust, Alfred de Musset, Gerard de Nerval, Guillaume Apollinaire, Colette, Oscar Wilde, Richard Wright, Gertrude Stein, and Alice B. Toklas. Artists buried here include Eugene Delacroix, Gustave Dore, Camille Pissarro, Georges-Pierre Seurat, Pierre Paul Prud'hon, Gustave Caillebotte, Theodore Gericault, Rene Lalique, and Max Ernst. Composers Frederic Chopin and George Enescu round out the list. The cemetery is also the resting place of some eminent scientists, including physiologist Claude Bernard, engineer Zenobe Gramme, and sociologist Henri de Saint-Simon.

Pere Lachaise is a must see for anyone visiting Paris. The cemetery has its own Metro stop, and maps of famous grave sites are available from many nearby vendors. It's a good idea to look at a map and plan out your itinerary before entering the cemetery, as its size can be overwhelming, and it can be quite a trek between grave sites.

CulturalWorld.org is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Niki Acker
By Niki Acker , Writer
"In addition to her role as a CulturalWorld.org editor, Niki Foster is passionate about educating herself on a wide range of interesting and unusual topics to gather ideas for her own articles. A graduate of UCLA with a double major in Linguistics and Anthropology, Niki's diverse academic background and curiosity make her well-suited to create engaging content for WiseGeekreaders. "

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Discussion Comments

By anon1000086 — On May 23, 2018

Morrison's grave site was a let down. There was once a bust of Jim's head but it was stolen by fans "to save it" from the other irreverent fans, and the family is said to have removed Jim's actual remains in fear that his body would be stolen as well.

By WaterHopper — On Nov 10, 2010

@chrisinbama: In 1971, Jim Morrison and girlfriend Pam Courson moved to Paris, so Morrison could concentrate on his writing and poetry. Morrison had become fed up with the LA music industry. On July 3, 1971, Pam found Jim unconscious in the bath tub. He was pronounced dead after firemen pulled Morrison from the tub.

Since, Morrison was fascinated with the Pere Lachaise Cemetery; Pam bought two plots and had him buried there.

By chrisinbama — On Nov 10, 2010

Why was Jim Morrison buried in Pere Lachaise Cemetery?

By anon63046 — On Jan 30, 2010

The criminal Claude Bernard who did animal testing on live animals without sedating them. He believed animals had no soul and couldn't feel pain so he performed the most excruciating painful tests upon them without one consideration whatsoever. This man should be removed from that grave and his remains must be dumped in the garbage!

By anon27776 — On Mar 05, 2009

what scientist is buried in the cemetery?

Niki Acker

Niki Acker

Writer

"In addition to her role as a CulturalWorld.org editor, Niki Foster is passionate about educating herself on a wide...
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