Combining mystery with beauty and history, cemeteries in Paris are widely regarded more than just simple burial grounds. Indeed, cemeteries like Père Lachaise Cemetery, Montparnasse Cemetery, and Montmartre Cemetery, form an essential part of the cultural heritage of the city and are, nowadays, ranked among the most irresistible tourist attractions in France.
It’s true that it’s hard to believe how graveyards can catch the attention of millions not even hundreds or thousands of tourists who visit this magnificent city, but when you discover more about these captivating spots, you will fully understand the reason behind this keen interest in “the world of the dead”.
1.Père Lachaise Cemetery
Located in the 20th arrondissement, on the Right Bank of the Seine river, Père Lachaise Cemetery, formerly known as East Cemetery, is in actual fact, reckoned to be one of the most prestigious and worth visiting necropolis in Paris.
The cemetery was opened on May 21st, 1804, covering a total area of 44 hectares (110 acres). Today, it is famed for housing the remains of France’s elite as well as many leading figures in history such as Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900) whose grave is covered with thick glass in order to protect it from the lipstick kisses of his admirers, the renowned French actor and playwright Molière (1622 – 1673), the French Romantic artist Eugène Delacroix (1798 – 1863), and Victor Noir (1848 – 1870), the French journalist whose tomb is probably the most famous.
Père Lachaise cemetery is also the final resting place of outstanding singers and artists like the lead singer of the popular American rock band Jim Morrison (1943 – 1971), the Greek-American soprano Maria Callas (1923 – 1977), and the Polish composer and pianist Frédéric Chopin (1810 – 1849).
This fascinating cemetery was founded on July 25th, 1824, in the 14th arrondissement of Paris. Set on the left bank of the Seine, the cemetery of Montparnasse occupies a vast surface of around 19 hectares (47 acres) and draws a remarkable number of visitors year-round.
Montparnasse Cemetery is best known for being the eternal home of some of France’s greatest artists and intellectuals. Among them, we can name the feminist philosopher and theorist Simone de Beauvoir (1908 – 1986), the well-recognized philosopher, writer, and political activist, Jean-Paul Sartre (1905 – 1980), and the big French writer Guy de Maupassant (1850 – 1893).
Also known as North Cemetery, the Montmartre Cemetery is considered as one of the most stunning landmarks of Paris. Situated in the city’s 18th arrondissement and stretched over an area of approximately 10.5 hectares (26 acres), the cemetery is classified the third largest graveyard in the city after the cemeteries of Père Lachaise and Montparnasse.
Montmartre Cemetery was established on January 1st, 1825. It is celebrated for holding the graves of numerous celebrities including the great Romantic composer Hector Berlioz (1803 – 1869), the prominent French novelist and playwright Émile Zola (1840 – 1902), and the Italian-French singer and actress who was born in Egypt and noted for singing in more than 10 languages, Dalida (1933 – 1987).