Photo Diary: Père Lachaise Cemetery
In the 20th arrondissement of Paris you can find the world’s most visited cemetery, Père Lachaise. It opened in 1804 and it’s the largest cemetery in the city of Paris (44 hectares or 110 acres). It is also the site of three World War I memorials.
We visited Père Lachaise on a cloudy February morning with our wonderful couchsurfing host and another guest he was hosting. We must have been there for around 3-4 hours, just getting lost. While seeing the grave of Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison is a must, this is a serene place steeped in art and history, interesting even if you don’t seek celebrities. Other notables buried here are composer Chopin, playwright Molière, poet Apollinaire, writers Balzac, Proust, Gertrude Stein and Colette, painters Pissarro, Seurat, Modigliani and Delacroix and chanteuse Édith Piaf.
Before skipping to photos, I’d like to talk the name of the cemetery. It’s taken from the confessor to Louis XIV, Père François de la Chaise (1624–1709), who lived in the Jesuit house rebuilt in 1682 on the site of the chapel. The property, situated on the hillside from which the king watched skirmishing between the Condé and Turenne during the Fronde, was bought by the city in 1804. Established by Napoleon in this year, the cemetery was laid out by Alexandre-Théodore Brongniart and later extended. Short history lesson over.
Let me take you around now.