I've been to paris 5 or 6 times but had never visited thi sfamous cemetary before November 2012.
it was a wet, cold day sadly - but it was a fascinating place to visit.
All I knew of it was that there were some famous graves - Oscar Wilde, Chopin and Jim Morrison.
The first "street we strolled-up was lined with old, slightly shabby but chic mausoleums.
The Catacombes de Paris. Here, the bones of Parisiens taken from cementaries at the 18C found their place. It is made up of many galleries or ways, you can only visit some of them.The visit is done at daytime with a guide on the best maintained galleries. Part of the visit is done amongst human bones! Entrance is at 1 avenue du Colonel Henri-Rol-Tanguy , Paris 14. You get here on the metro Denfert Rochereau lines 4 and 6 or RER Denfert Rochereau B; admission is 8€; webpage http://www.catacombes.paris.fr/ However, keep an eye on the site, as they are now close and no dates as when they will be available.
Update on the Catacombes !!! It is having problems and close to the public again. First it was the lights for the 2KM of galleries went out, last november, the ventilation system failed, and it was just put in there in 1995!. THe city has ordered tests of air quality for all visitors and employees. Last september it was some damage cranes holding the ceilings that made the place close too. Those problems still going on, and the question has been raised if the place need permanent closing!!!
One of the most known graves at the Père Lachaise cemetery is that of Doors-member Jim Morrison.
Jim went to Paris in 1970 with Pamela Courson. He was upset by the lack of seriousness with which he was taken as a poet. He did not get the wanted inspiration and became severely depressed. On July 3, 1971 Jim was found dead in the bathtub of their Parisian apartment.
His grave became an attraction for his fans and 25 years later at his dying day the police had to use teargas to spread the crowd.
Some years ago, when I was out of work and my supply of beer vouchers seriously depleted, I decided it must be time to look for another job, the last one ended abruptly after a misunderstanding with the boss, provoked by one of my occasional behavioural misdemeanours!
I still had my PSV driving licence unblemished, so I scanned the newspapers for something suitable, and came across an advertisement for a tour driver, duly applied, and after the interview got the job, three tours of Italy and Sicily, when it was discovered that I'm also a mechanic, I was awarded a pair of greasy overalls and told to get my hands dirty fixing the old open-top double-decker bus.
Soon after, I was on the road, accompanied by my co-driver, I already knew a few vague facts about Sicily being home to the "Cosa Nostra", but did not realise how true this was until I was driving along the north coast of the island and noted most of the speed restriction signposts were bullet-holed by the local Mafiusi, back on holiday from USA, practising their drive-by shooting techniques!
Because these Mafia types were home visiting family and relatives in the "old country", they were at pains to be on their best behaviour to please Mama and Papa, so there was never any trouble, old unsettled scores could wait until back on familiar "turf" in New York and elsewhere.
In mid-July Sicily was oppressively hot, and I always enjoyed the tour's scheduled visits to Palermo's ancient Catacomb cellars, where the remains of wealthy and influential citizens were stored, and provided blissfully cool respite from the hot midday sun. Some of the corpses were in well-preserved condition and dressed in period clothing even fitted with wigs, others were just skeletons, supine in their alcoves, it was very eerie, but at the same time interesting, I had never imagined the long-deceased could attract so much attention from visitors, the tour guides were always busy.
If I ever win the lottery I might reserve a suitable alcove for Benny's bones!
At the end of the 18th century, as Paris began to expand, a problem developed: what to do with all the bodies that had been buried outside the city, now that the city was growing bigger. The solution: create a remarkable underground series of tunnels and chambers, and move the bodies from the cemeteries to these catacombs. From 1785 to 1850, approximately 6 million departed souls had their bones relocated. Today, they await visitors in what is an incredibly eerie tour below the city of light. The public visit takes you on a remarkable underground journey, but the public views only a small portion of this underground world.
l'ossuaire de Denfert-Rochereau
1, place Denfert-Rochereau, 75014 Paris
Closed Mondays & holidays. Open 9 AM to 4 PM Tuesday-Sunday.
Be sure to check out the sculpture of the lion at Place Denfert Rochereau-- it is by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, most noted for his Liberty Enlightening the World in New York Harbor.
Situated on the eastern edge of the city, the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise (Father Lachaise Cemetery) is the most famous cemetery in Paris and arguably all of Europe. Many notable French and foreign personages are buried here, and the tree-lined paths weaving around 19th-century monuments make Père-Lachaise a favorate spot for a peaceful stroll.
More than 300,000 people are buried at "the grandest address in Paris," including many famous artists and writers. Jim Morrison (1943-71) - American musician and poet (one of the most popular graves in Pere-Lachaise) has also a grave here.
The most famous religious figures buried in Père-Lachaise are the unlucky lovers Héloïse and Abélard. Peter Abélard (1079-1142) was a brilliant and controversial philosopher and theologian who, at the age of 39, was hired as a private tutor to Héloïse, niece of Canon Fulbert of Paris.
Père Lachaise cemetery is well-known for a burial place of communars. We came there in memory of fighters for social justice.
The cemetries of Paris absorbed all they could. The victims, placed side by side, without any other covering than their clothes, filled enormous ditches at the Père Lachaise, Montmartre, Mont-Parnasse, where the people in pious rememberance will annually come as pilgrims.
You can watch my 3 min 04 sec Video Paris Père Lachaise out of my Youtube channel.
Not far off the beaten path is the cemetery of Passy, as it sits just across the place du Trocadero from the Palais de Chaillot and 5 mins walk from the Eiffel Tower. Not as well known as some of the other Parisian cemeteries, nonetheless it has its lot of celebrities.
No 1) - Bao Dai, last Empereur of Vietnam. Forced to abdicate by Ho Chi Minh in 1945, and then finally exiled in 1955 after Dien Bien Phu and the end of the first part of the Vietnam war. He died here in Paris in 1997.
No 2) - Edouard Manet, Instigator of modernisme and one of its most famous exponents towards the end of the 19th c, died in Paris in 1883 after long bouts of sickness and contracting syphilis resulting in gangrene.
No 3) - Marcel Dassault,née Bloch, creator of Dassault Aviation, the most famous of French aviation companies. Changed his name to Dassault in 1949 to commemorate the pseudo of his brother in the Resistance during WWII.
No 4) - Fernandel, well known actor and cabaret artist. Died in Paris after a cancer in 1971.
No 5) - Leila Pahlavi, last daughter of the Shah of Iran and Farah Diba, died in London in 2001. Suffering from depression and anorexia her death is still unexplained.
Among others are Haroun Tazieff, volcanologue - Marcel Renault, of Renault cars - Berthe Morisot, sister in law of Manet and featuring in some of his works and also Pearl White, American actrice of the silent film era.
This large cemetery in the 20th arrondissement is popular with tourists because some famous people are buried here. If you go in at the main entrance you can get a map to help you find the graves of people like Gioacchino Rossini, Maria Callas, Édith Piaf, Oscar Wilde or Jim Morrison, and also to help you find your way out again.
I think one of the graves in this photo might be where the dramatist Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais (1732-1799) was buried (yes, the author of The Barber of Seville and The Marriage of Figaro), but the inscriptions are quite weathered so I'm not sure.
Boulevard de Ménilmontant
Velib' 20131 or 11021 (the border between the 11th and 20th districts runs right through here, that's why they have such different numbers)
Métro: Philippe Auguste
48°51'45.41" North; 2°23'37.42" East
Pere LaChaise Cemetiere. The cemetery is sparawling and a historian paradise. From Rossini to Seurat, Morrison to the unknown, it is filled with the crypts and final resting place for the Ex Patriots and French families.
Expect to take time here, as it is fascinating and the mausoleums as decorative as some of the french buildings in the city. Walk and observe- It is a place I never thought would be as facinating as it was....
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