Père Lachaise Cemetery is the largest cemetery in Paris. With over 3.5 million people visiting it every year, this massive cemetery receives its fair share of attention. And there is a very good reason for that. The cemetery is home to a number of famous graves, including those of Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, and Oscar Wilde. While the cemetery makes for an odd attraction, it is definitely worth a look while you are visiting Paris. The cemetery is so big that nobody knows for certain the number of people buried here. However, estimates hover anywhere around 300,000 to 1,000,000. What’s for sure, though, is the fact that it is home to some of the most famous graves in the world. Below is a list of the 10 famous graves at Père Lachaise Cemetery.
1. Oscar Wilde
One of the more popular graves at Paris’s Pere Lachaise Cemetery, is that of famed writer, Oscar Wilde. Thousands of lipsticks marks covering the glass facade make it the most kissed grave in the cemetery. The tomb is also covered with flowers, letters, and various other items that people leave at the gravesite as a gift. With thousands of visitors flocking to see Oscar Wilde’s grave every single day, putting it on your bucket list while visiting Paris should be a no-brainer.
2. Victor Noir
Probably one of the biggest reasons behind Père Lachaise Cemetery’s popularity is the interesting grave of Victor Noir. Victor Noir was a French journalist who was shot and killed by the cousin of the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. His murder was met with infuriation on the public’s part and led to countless violent riots on the streets of France.
However, it wasn’t his death that made him famous. Rather, it was his grave.
French sculptor, Jules Dalou, created the sculpture of Noir’s grave. For some reason, Dalou decided to give the journalist a noticeable bulge under the belt.
This bulge rapidly triggered a lot of interest from visitors. So much so that the grave is now considered a symbol of fertility and sexual happiness, with many women touching the bulge for good luck.
3. Baron Haussmann
Baron Haussmann, a civil servant, had a prominent role in transforming Paris during Napoleon III’s empire. He brought in clean water, built a better sewage system, and transformed the streets of Paris from narrow paths to a much more modern and grander walkway.
Today, he is known as both the man who destroyed the beauty of medieval Paris and the man who built the beautiful modern Paris. This influential man’s grave is one that is not to be missed by history buffs when visiting Paris.
Modigliani, was an Italian artist who moved to Paris as a young 18-year-old. He spent most of his life there, mainly becoming well-known for his paintings of women with elongated faces and bodies.
Modigliani’s grave is one of the most difficult graves to find in Pére Lachaise. It is hidden not too far from Piaf’s. He is buried next to his life partner, Jeanne Hebuterne, who committed suicide out of sorrow two days after the artist’s death.
5. Édith Piaf
Édith Piaf, the singer of La Vie en Rose, led a life that was nothing short of a soap opera. Piaf’s life revolved around the great city of Paris – it began and ended there.
The singer grew up in poverty-stricken situations as a child but her talent for singing served as her big-ticket to stardom. She performed in local bars and clubs before finally achieving global success.
While Piaf’s musical career was short, her fans are many. Thousands of people pay their respect to the singer every day by visiting her grave. You will always find her tomb adorned with flowers by her fans.
6. Baroness Elizaveta Alexandrovna Stroganova
Elizaveta Alexandrovna Stroganova, was a Russian aristocrat and has the grave to go along with that title. Her resting place is one of the most massive ones you will ever set your eyes on, with her grave stretching several storeys high towards the sky.
7. Georges Rodenbach
Rodenbach, was a Belgian novelist and poet whose works revolved around romance and tragedy. His grave, very fittingly, depicts a man holding a rose as he seems to burst out of his tomb.
Rodenbach’s grave is often met with crowds as it’s one of the most beautiful and dramatic tombs in the cemetery.
8. Jim Morrison
The famed American rockstar Jim Morrison, has the busiest grave in Pére Lachaise Cemetery. If you are visiting Paris and want to take a look at his grave, be ready to encounter large crowds.
The singer died in Paris and his grave was left unmarked for some time. As soon as his grave was marked, however, there were several vandalism occurrences, such as people stealing the bust of the musician.
So much so that the cemetery officials had to appoint a guard to stop people from defacing or destroying the tomb in any way.
You will often find hordes of fans leaving heartfelt letters and flowers on the singer’s resting place.
Although not the easiest to locate, Chopin’s grave is one of wide discussion when in Pére Lachaise Cemetery. You will often find locals and Chopin fans letting visitors know through speakers about the Polish composer’s location and his most famous works. A statue of Eugène, mourning over a broken lyre, sits atop Chopin’s gravestone. An interesting fact about Chopin’s grave is that all of the legendary composer’s remains are buried in Pére Lachaise except his heart. It was returned to his hometown in Warsaw.
10. Marcel Marceau
was a renowned French mime artist and actor. He was best known for his persona Bip the Clown. He was also a prominent member of the French Resistance during World War II and helped rescue numerous children from concentration camps.
When visiting Paris, giving a visit to the legendary actor’s grave is a must to pay your respects to both his talent and charitable acts.
And that’s it! If you like reading the 10 famous graves at Père Lachaise Cemetery, be sure to check out 5 Parisian Neighborhoods To Visit In Paris