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Père Lachaise Famous Graves: The Famous People Buried There

Last Updated on May 16, 2024 by April Nicole

Are you looking for Père Lachaise Famous Graves? This guide has you covered – keep reading!

Perhaps the world’s most visited cemetery is Père Lachaise Cemetery (Cimetière du Père Lachaise). It is well-known not only for the size and artistic quality of its tombs, but also for housing a number of well-known people who passed away in Paris and made here their final resting place.

Père Lachaise’s 106 acres (43 hectares) are home to 70,000 burial plots, and with a bewildering array of family mausoleums, elaborate sepulchers, ancient-looking family chapels, and funerary art all vying for your attention, finding specific celebrities buried there can be difficult and time-consuming. Due to its popularity as the world’s most visited necropolis and largest cemetery, Père Lachaise occasionally draws enormous crowds, which makes solo exploration more difficult.

A serene walkway at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, lined with autumn-kissed trees and historic tombs. A couple walks hand in hand, creating a peaceful scene amidst the cobblestone path and fallen leaves, reflecting the cemetery's tranquil atmosphere.

I have compiled a guide listing the top 17 famous people buried and noteworthy memorials at Cimetière du Père Lachaise famous graves, along with the section where you may locate them, to make your search quicker, simpler, and ultimately more successful.

Guided Père Lachaise Cemetery tours are available through Get Your Guide, but I chose to explore the cemetery on my own. I regret not doing the Père Lachaise Famous Graves Tour.

Alright, let’s get started with my curated list of the 17 well-known individuals interred in Pere Lachaise Cemetery.

Psst! This blog post contains affiliate links in it which sends me a bit of extra money if you use them… at no extra cost to you. Merci!

If you are in a hurry, here’s a summary of Père Lachaise Famous Graves in Paris:

Père Lachaise Famous Graves

Oscar Wilde: 1854-1900

Père Lachaise Famous Graves, Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde, an Irish playwright, writer, journalist, and poet, was found guilty of “gross indecency with men” by a British court and condemned to two years in jail with hard labor just as he was beginning to experience enormous success and fame. He escaped to France after being freed and lived there as an exile until his death from meningitis three years later.

Jacob Epstein, a sculptor, built Wilde’s Egyptian-themed mausoleum in Père Lachaise. Over time, visitors began applying thick layers of lipstick on their lips before kissing the monument, which caused the stone to deteriorate. As seen in the picture above, a glass barrier installed in 2011 has only partially succeeded in stopping the kisses.

Victor Noir: 1848-1870

Père Lachaise Famous Graves, 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.

Sarah Bernhardt: 1844-1923

Père Lachaise Famous Graves, Sarah Bernhardt

After several global tours, Sarah Bernhardt, a phenomenally successful French stage actress, received praise from all around the world and eventually made the switch to starring roles in motion pictures. She was well known for having several high-ranking lovers in French society, many of whom she kept as friends. Bernhardt was also a skilled painter and sculptor, and near the end of her life, she published a manual on acting technique.

If you’re looking for intriguing museums to see in Paris, you can check out these 10 Unusual Museums in Paris You Must Visit too!

Georges-Eugene Haussmann: 1775-1825 

Père Lachaise Famous Graves, Georges-Eugene Haussmann

Georges-Eugene Haussmann better known as 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.

Amedeo Modigliani: 1884-1920

Père Lachaise Famous Graves, Amedeo Modigliani

Amedeo 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 Père 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.

Édith Piaf: 1915-1963

Père Lachaise Famous Graves, Édith Piaf

Édith Piaf, the singer of La Vie en Rose, led a life that was nothing short of a soap opera. Edith 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.

Richard Wright: 1908-1960

Père Lachaise Famous Graves, Richard Wright

Richard Wright, an American author who devoted a large portion of his writing to the impact of violence against African Americans due to racial injustice. His two most well-known works are the memoir Black Boy and the novel Native Son, which he wrote with financial assistance from a Guggenheim grant.

He relocated to Paris permanently in 1946, where he met and befriended fellow expats Chester Himes and James Baldwin as well as French writers Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, and Simone de Beauvoir. He also became a citizen of France.

Theodore Géricault: 1791-1824

Père Lachaise Famous Graves, Theodore Géricault

Theodore Géricault was a painter who, despite his early death at the age of 32, had a significant influence on the French Romanticism movement and helped shape the work of other artists like Delacroix, Turner, Courbet, and Manet. His most famous piece to date is The Raft of the Medusa, a bronze sculpture on the front of his tomb that was created by Antoine Etex and has a reclining figure of him atop. It is on display at the Louvre.

Elizaveta Alexandrovna Stroganova 1776-1818

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.

Georges Rodenbach: 1855-1898

It may not come as a surprise to see a bronze figure in his image clutching a rose as he emerges from his granite grave because Belgian author and poet Georges Rodenbach loved fin de siècle symbolism and stressed the interaction between romance and tragedy in his works.

Given that the Rodenbach burial is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular in the cemetery, don’t be surprised to see throngs gathered around it. His memorial prayer was, “Lord, grant me this hope to live once more in the gloomy eternity of the book.”

Colette: 1873-1954

Colette was a well-known French author and theatrical actress who was born Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette. The Vagabond, which examines a woman’s struggle for independence in a world ruled by men, and Gigi, which tells the tale of a young girl who falls in love with a friend while preparing to become a courtesan, are two of her best-known works.

These novels, like a lot of Colette’s other writings, examine the opportunities that French women had to create independent lives for themselves in a time when they were viewed as property.

Since Colette released Gigi in 1944, it has served as an inspiration for numerous stage and screen adaptations. The most famous production is a 1958 musical film by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe, starring Maurice Chevalier and Leslie Caron, who coincidentally had previously played Gigi in a brief stage production.

Audrey Hepburn played Gigi in a 1951 Broadway version that closed after less than a year but catapulted Hepburn into stardom. Eleven Oscars were later won by the film.

Jim Morrison: 1943-1971

The famed American rockstar Jim Morrison, has the busiest grave in Père 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.

Eugène Delacroix: 1798-1863

The Impressionist painters were greatly impacted by the prolific, well-respected, and immensely important French Romantic painter Eugène Delacroix‘s use of color and light. Several of his paintings are on exhibit at the Musée National Eugène Delacroix in Paris, as well as his most well-known piece, Liberty Leading the People, which depicts a victorious female figure holding the French tricolor flag, which stands for liberty, equality, and fraternity.

Frédéric Chopin: 1810-1849

Frédéric Chopin, a Polish composer and pianist who suffered from ill health for the majority of his brief life, was praised during his lifetime for best capturing the Romantic period, and his reputation has only become better after his passing. There are many people that visit his tomb in Père Lachaise. The statue of Euterpe, the Muse of Music, was made by Jean-Baptiste Clésinger for his grave.

A statue of Eugène, Muse of Music, was made by Jean-Baptiste Clésinger for his grave. 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 Père Lachaise except his heart. It was returned to his hometown in Warsaw.

Marcel Marceau: 1923-2007

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.

Gioacchino Rossini: 1792-1868

Gioacchino Rossini, an Italian composer well-known for his operas, which include William Tell, Otello, and The Barber of Seville. In the 1820s, he composed operas for the Paris Opera. After living for a while in Bologna, he returned to Paris in 1855, where he spent the remainder of his life.

There, he hosted Saturday musical salons that drew musicians and artists such as Franz Liszt, Giuseppe Verdi, Giacomo Meyerbeer, Anton Rubinstein, and Joseph Joachim.

Fernand Arbelot (1880-1942)

Although Belgian sculptor Adolphe Wansart’s lifelike sculpture of French actor Fernand Arbelot lying on his tomb while holding a mask representing his grieving wife supposedly to allow him to gaze at her through eternity—may no longer be remembered for his own achievements, it initially appears to be touchingly romantic.

Camille Pissarro: 1830-1903

Père Lachaise Famous Graves, Camille Pissarro

The Impressionist and Post-Impressionist styles owed much to the Danish-French artist Camille Pissarro, who is frequently referred to as the “Father of Impressionism.” He sold few paintings throughout his lifetime, despite being the only artist to show his work at all eight of the Impressionist exhibitions that took place in Paris between 1874 and 1886. They bring millions now. The Orsay Museum is the greatest location to view them in Paris.

Mano Solo: 1963-2010

Père Lachaise Famous Graves, Mano Solo

Mano Solo (born Emmanuel Cabut) was a well-known French singer-songwriter, guitarist, artist, activist for restoring equality (the inscription “Les Enfants de FaZa SoMa” on his grave refers to his support for the indigenous people of Madagascar), and occasionally actor and DJ. He was well-known in the avant-garde Parisian music scene for his appearances at the Bataclan and Olympia.

After 20 years of fighting AIDS, he passed away in 2010 at the age of 46.

Simone Signoret: 1921-1985 and Yves Montand: 1921-1991

Père Lachaise Famous Graves, Simone Signoret and Yves Montand

French actresses Simone Signoret and Yves Montand, who were married in 1951 and shared a number of films together, were of German and Italian descent. In recognition of her performance in Room at the Top, Signoret, who had been a member of the intellectual gathering that took place at Café de Flore during World War II, received an Academy Award for Best Actress.

Because of his attractiveness, Montand was cast in many French and American films as well as on Broadway. He was also a singer and regularly appeared at the Olympia in Paris.

Louis Ernest Ladurée: 1836-1904

Père Lachaise Famous Graves, Louis Ernest Ladurée

Louis Ernest Ladurée established the first Ladurée bakery at 16 Rue Royale in 1862. He also opened one of the earliest tea salons in Paris with his wife, Jeanne Souchard, and together they created a desire for amazing new pastries that are still in demand today, such the macaroons that retain his name.

Sorry, but his cousin Pierre Desfontaines is the true creator of the world-famous macaroons that you can purchase at any Ladurée store in Paris today.

Guillaume Apollinaire: 1880-1918

Père Lachaise Famous Graves, Guillaume Apollinaire

Guillaume Apollinaire, a French poet, playwright, novelist, and art critic, was born Wilhelm Albert Włodzimierz Apolinary Kostrowicki. He used the terms “Cubism” and “Surrealism” to characterize new literary and artistic movements.

He was a member of the Montmartre and Montparnasse neighborhoods’ artistic and intellectual communities, where he interacted with prominent figures of the prewar Paris intelligentsia, including Marc Chagall, Henri Rousseau, Marcel Duchamp, Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein, Andre Breton, Jean Cocteau, Andre Derain, and Eric Satie. A menhir-shaped monument made of rough stone sits atop his tomb in Père Lachaise.

Planning a Visit to Père Lachaise Famous Graves

What’s the most effective way to begin? Download a map of Père Lachaise Cemetery burials location first. It will show you all 97 divisions as well as its avenues and alleyways.

Père Lachaise Famous Graves Visitor Information

Admission:  Free

Opening Hours:

November to mid-March:
8am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday,
8.30am to 5.30pm on Saturday
9am to 5.30pm on Sundays and public holidays

Mid-March to October:
8am to 6pm Monday to Friday
8.30am to 6pm on Saturday
9am to 6pm on Sundays and public holidays

How to get to the Père Lachaise Famous Graves

Père Lachaise Cemetery is located at 16 rue du Repos in the 20th Arrondissement. If you find yourself on Rue de la Roquette in Paris’ 11th arrondissement, head upward to the end of the road to reach Père Lachaise.

Taking the metro is the most convenient and inexpensive way to travel to Père Lachaise Cemetery. Lines 2 and 3 of the Paris Metro system lead to the cemetery.

Either the Père Lachaise (lines 2 and 3) or Gambetta (line 3) stops are where you need to get off.

Taking a bus that stops close to or at the cemetery’s gates is another option. There are nearby bus stops for lines 61 and 69, and bus line 26 takes you right into the heart of Père Lachaise Cemetery.

💡Travel tip: Start your walk near the Gambetta metro station and finish it closest to the Père Lachaise station. Walking in this direction will make your walk more of a downhill one!

Père Lachaise Famous Graves Map

Père Lachaise Cemetery, Entry Points, and Nearest Metro Stations are displayed on this interactive map.

Want to Find Out More about Père Lachaise Famous Graves?

Findagrave.com – To locate a specific grave, use the search option. The data is often correct, and there are also helpful images, connections to authoritative information sources, and GPS locations.

Final thoughts on Père Lachaise Famous Graves

I hope that my Père Lachaise Famous Graves post was useful, and you will appreciate this well-known Parisian cemetery just as much as I do!

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