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Père-Lachaise Cemetery

Metro : Gambetta, Père-Lachaise, Alexandre Dumas. Open : 7h30am - 6pm.

pere lachaise cimetery
    Père-Lachaise cemetery is like a miniature city devastated by a neutron bomb : a great number of dead, seemingly empty houses and temples of every size and style, and exhausted survivors, some congregating aimlessly, some searching persistently.  The cemetery was opened in 1804 after an urgent stop had been put on further burials in the overflowing city cemeteries and churchyards, and to be interred in Père-Lachaise quickly became the ultimate symbol of riches and success.  A free map of the cemetery is available at the entrance on rue des Rondeaux by Avenue du Père lachaise, or you can buy a more detailed souvenir one at newsagents near here and the Boulevard de Ménilmontant entrance.
    Swarms flock to the now-sanitized tomb of ex-doors lead singer Jim Morrison (division 6), cleansed of all its graffiti and watched vigilantly by security guards. Colette's tomb (division 4), close to the main Ménilmontant entrance, is very plain though always covered in flowers. The same is true for Sarah Bernhardt's (division 44) and the great chanteuse Edith Piaf's (division 97). Marcel Proust lies in his family's conventional tomb (division 85), which honours the medical fame of his father. In division 92, nineteenth-century journalist Victor Noir - shot for daring to criticize a relative of Napoleon III - lies flat on his back, fully clothed, his top hat fallen by his feet.
    Corot (division 24) and Balzac (division 48) both have superb busts, Balzac looking particularly satisfied with his life. Géricault reclines on cushions of stone ( division 12), paint palette in hands. Chopin (division 11) has a willowy muse weeping for his loss. The most impressive of the individual tombs is that of Oscar Wilde (division 89), adorned with a strange Pharaonic winged messenger (sadly robbed almost immediately of its prominent penis by a scandalised cemetery employee, who, so the story goes, used it as a paperweight) sculpted by Jacob Epstein and a grim verse from the Ballad of Reading Gaol behind. Nearby, in division 96, is the grave  of Modigliani and his lover Jeanne Herbuterne, who killed herself in crazed grief a few days after he died in agony from meningitis.
    It is the monuments to the collective, violent deaths, however, that have the power to change a sunny outing to Père-Lachaise into a much more sombre experience. In division 97, you'll find the memorials to those who died in the Nazi concentration camps, to executed Resistance fighters and to those who were never accounted for in the genocide of the last world war.  The sculptures are relentless in their images of inhumanity, of people forced to collaborate in their own degradation and death. Finally, there is the Mur des Fédérés (division 76)n the wall where the last troops of the Paris Commune were lined up and shot in the final days of the battle in 1871. The man who ordered their execution, Adolphe Thiers, lies in the centre of the cemetery (division 55).

Trocadero and Palais de Chaillot history
Les Champs-Elysées
La Place de la Concorde
L'Opéra Garnier
Père-Lachaise Cemetery
Musée d'Orsay
Musée du Louvre
Eiffel Tower

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