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15 Famous People Buried at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris

Updated on January 5, 2017

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.

Main entrance to the Pere Lachaise Cemetery.
Main entrance to the Pere Lachaise Cemetery. | Source

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:

Karel Appel

Dutch painter (1921-2006)

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Grave of Karel Appel
Grave of Karel Appel

Honore de Balzac

(1799-1850) French writer

Honoré de Balzac
Honoré de Balzac | Source
Grave bust of Honore de Balzac.
Grave bust of Honore de Balzac. | Source

Vincenzo Bellini

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.

Bellini
Bellini | Source
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Sarah Bernhardt

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.

Sarah Bernhardt
Sarah Bernhardt | Source
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Georges Bizet

French composer (Carmen) (1838-1875)

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Frédéric Chopin

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.

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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.

Jean de la Fontaine
Jean de la Fontaine | Source
Molière
Molière | Source
Grave of De la Fontaine
Grave of De la Fontaine | Source
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Grave of Molière
Grave of Molière | Source
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Both graves stand together in one monument
Both graves stand together in one monument | Source
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Marcel Marceau

French mime (1923-2007)

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Yves Montand and Simone Signoret

Yves Montand: French chansonnier (1921-1991)
Simone Signoret: French actrice (1921-1985)

These spouses share a burial plot.

Yves Montand
Yves Montand | Source
Simone Signoret
Simone Signoret | Source
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Jim Morrison

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.

Jim Morrison
Jim Morrison | Source
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Marcel Proust

French writer (À la recherche du temps perdu) (1871-1921)

Marcel Proust
Marcel Proust | Source
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Gioacchino Rossini

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.

Gioacchino Rossini
Gioacchino Rossini | Source
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Oscar Wilde

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.

Oscare Wilde
Oscare Wilde | Source
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The name on the tomb is barely visible through the glass casing.
The name on the tomb is barely visible through the glass casing. | Source
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Honorable Mention

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)

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    • amvabecreations profile image
      Author

      amvabecreations 11 months ago from Netherlands

      I'm very sorry, I don't know.

    • profile image

      barridale 11 months ago

      I would like to know the person whose grave is a man lying down holding in his hands a face of someone. Is it himself or another person

    • amvabecreations profile image
      Author

      amvabecreations 12 months ago from Netherlands

      Thank you all for your additional information! This list is not meant to be complete, so all extra info is greatly appreciated.

    • profile image

      Ron 13 months ago

      Did I miss Bugatti in the montage? A simple yet elegant headstone in black with just the name in gold lettering. Worthy of inclusion.

    • profile image

      booob 17 months ago

      i died

    • profile image

      Iz 2 years ago

      Also Serge Gainsbourg (2 April 1928 – 2 March 1991) :

      "was a French singer, songwriter, pianist, film composer, poet, painter, screenwriter, writer, actor, and director.[3] Regarded as one of the most important figures in French popular music, he was renowned for his often provocative and scandalous releases,[4][5] as well as his diverse artistic output, which embodied genres ranging from jazz, mambo, world, chanson, pop and yé-yé, to rock and roll, progressive rock, reggae, electronic, disco, new wave, and funk. Gainsbourg's varied musical style and individuality make him difficult to categorize although his legacy has been firmly established and he is often regarded as one of the world's most influential popular musicians.[6]"

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      Men-Chuen 2 years ago

      Marie-Sophie Germain ( 1 April 1776 – 27 June 1831) was a French mathematician.

      Her final resting place is in the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris

      She left behind a in mathematics like:

      Sophie Germain prime

      Germain curvature

      Sophie Germain's Identity

    • amvabecreations profile image
      Author

      amvabecreations 2 years ago from Netherlands

      I'll change it, thanks!

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      Matthew Brooks 2 years ago

      Jim Morrison died at the age of 27, not 28. He's part of the notorious 27 club. A surprisingly large group of famous people, primarily made up of musicians who died at the age of 27.