15 Famous People Buried at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris
Cimetière du Père Lachaise
Cimetière du Père Lachaise is, with its 110 acres, one of the largest cemeteries in Paris, France. It is situated on a hill with beautiful views of the city. Traversing this cemetery feels like walking around in a different world—but not necessary a morbid one. With its shadowy cobblestone lanes, numerous mausoleums, and grave statues, it feels like a city in a city, with its own identity. The cemetery is lent a unique personality by its extensive (sometimes bombastic) grave art including statues of grieving widows and crying angels and Egyptian pyramids and obelisks.
Graves of Famous People to Visit
Founded in 1804, the cemetery houses so many famous people that the place has become something of a pilgrim destination. Here are 15 of its famous occupants, along with photo galleries of each. A full list of all the famous people buried there can be found here.
In alphabetical order:
Dutch painter (1921-2006)
Honore de Balzac
(1799-1850) French writer
Italian composer (Norma) (1801-1835)
Both Bellini and Rossini’s remains were transferred to Italian graveyards. Their grave monuments at Père Lachaise are now empty.
French actrice (1844-1923)
Her grave is can only be photographed from an awkward angle since right in front of it is another, quite big, grave monument.
French composer (Carmen) (1838-1875)
Polish composer and pianist (1810-1849)
Both the France and Poland claim Chopin as their citizen. The Polish embassy in Paris sees to it that every week, a new beautiful batch of flowers is delivered to Chopin’s grave.
Molière and Jean de la Fontaine
Jean de la Fontaine: French poet (fables) (1621-1695)
Molière: French actor and playwright (1622-1673)
In 1817 Moliere and La Fontaine were re-buried, although there is doubt about whether or not the remains are actually theirs.
French mime (1923-2007)
Yves Montand and Simone Signoret
Yves Montand: French chansonnier (1921-1991)
Simone Signoret: French actrice (1921-1985)
These spouses share a burial plot.
American singer and poet (1943-1971)
His is a small grave, squeezed in between others, but probably still one of the most visited in the cemetery. He was the idol of his generation and the lead singer of The Doors and died when he was only 27 years old. Decades after his death, he still has a loyal set of fans.
French writer (À la recherche du temps perdu) (1871-1921)
Italian composer (The Barber of Seville and William Tell) (1792-1868)
Both Bellini and Rossini’s remains were transferred to Italian graveyards, so their grave monuments at Père Lachaise are now empty.
Irish writer (1854-1900)
Banished from England, Wilde died in a Parisien hotel. Grave robbers have stolen the angel’s private bits. Admirers used to cover the monument with colourful kisses. They stopped after glass encasing was put up around the grave, and now write their messages on the glass.
Maria Callas: American/Greek opera singer (1923-1977)
This cemetery does not have her actual grave, but there is a memorial stone in the columbarium.
Gustave Doré: French artist and lithographer (1832-1883)
Édith Piaf: French chansonnière (1915-1963)