As with many a large city necropolis, Père Lachaise Cemetery is a free oasis of peace. And sometimes respite from the people-filled Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame can be a good thing. Plus there are a number of famous and interesting people buried on the hills of this city of the dead. You can amble past them on a sunny afternoon stroll (or rainy, if it suits your mood better).
Marcel Proust. Born: July 10th 1871, Died: November 18th 1922 of pneumonia and a pulmonary abscess. French novelist, essayist and critic. 2013 marked 100 years since his masterpiece, À la recherche du temps perdu, was published (14th November 1913).
Oscar Wilde. Born: October 16th 1854, Died: November 30th 1900 of cerebral meningitis. A popular playwright famous for plays such as The Importance of Being Earnest, and for the poem the Ballad of Reading Gaol (where he spent some time) as well as his wit.
Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known by his stage name, Moliere – Born: January 15th 1622, Died: February 17th 1673 of pulmonary tuberculosis. Playwright and actor famous for writing works such as The Misanthrope. Celebrated comedy writer.
Molière is buried next to Jean de La Fontaine, Born: July 8th 1621, Died: April 13th 1695 of natural causes. Famous for his fables, which are often published as collections of fables, as Aesop’s Fables are. La Fontaine was also famous for his poetry.
Édith Piaf, married name Édith Lamboukas, Born: Edith Giovanna Gassion, December 19th 1915, Died: October 10th 1963 of liver cancer aged 47. One of France’s most famous singers of all time, among her most popular songs were ‘Non, je ne regrette rien’ and ‘La Vie en rose.’
Jim Morrison, Born James Douglas Morrison, December 8th 1943, Died: July 3rd 1971. Found dead of a heart attack in a bathtub, according to official reports, but rumoured to have died of a heroin overdose, or according to some rumours, not to have died at all. Frontman of the band The Doors, whose songs included The End, People are Strange and The Unknown Soldier.
Tignous, Born: Bernard Verlhac, 21 August 1957, Died: 7 January 2015. Cartoonist at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo Killed in a shooting at the magazine’s headquarters that claimed the lives of 11 others, including cartoonist Wolinski Born: Georges Wolinski, 28 June 1934, Died: 7 January 2015.
Opening times and prices
Pere-Lachaise is free. The website has a virtual tour and map of the graves. 6th November -15 March 8am-5.30pm Monday – Friday; 8.30am – 5.30pm Saturday; 9am – 5.30pm Sun. 16th March – 5th Nov 8am – 6pm Monday – Friday; 8.30am – 6pm Sat; 9am-6pm Sun and holidays.
How to get to Pere-Lachaise
There’s a dedicated Metro stop, Métro Père Lachaise. Other options are Alexandre Dumas or Gambetta.