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Last Updated on: 12th March 2024, 09:00 pm

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widow statue pere lachaise

Famous Graves of Père Lachaise Cemetery Guided Tour

  • See all of the best known graves including Jim Morrison and Chopin.
  • Hear stories, legends and little-known facts about Père Lachaise Cemetery
  • Entertaining and informative English language tour led by exceptionally knowledgeable guide
  • Personalized small group and commentary (maximum 25 people)
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Rating: 4.5 out of 5 (605 reviews)

Père Lachaise is one of the most famous cemeteries in the world, drawing visitors from all over to explore its extraordinary architecture, famous graves, and peaceful gardens.

I had learned about Pere Lachaise in school, long before I could travel to Paris to see it with my very own eyes.

I find it perfect for a romantic date.

alley pere lachaise cemetery Paris

One of the majestic alleyways in Pere Lachaise

Where Is Pere Lachaise

Located in the 20th arrondissement of Paris, this legendary necropolis offers a unique journey through history and culture.

Like almost all of the main Paris landmarks, Père Lachaise Cemetery is easily accessible by the Paris metro system.

Take metro line 2 or 3 to the Philippe Auguste or Père Lachaise stops.

Exit the metro station and follow the signs for the cemetery entrance, which is just a short walk away.

Line 2 runs across the city center, so you can pick it up near major tourist spots like the Louvre and Opéra Garnier.

Line 3 services the northern part of central Paris, running near Montmartre, the Marais district, and Republique.

Both metro lines have connections from other parts of the city as well.

With the cemetery’s convenient location, taking the metro is an affordable and easy option for your visit.

Sunny Day in Pere Lachaise

On a sunny day trees would cast shadows over the tombs and monuments, making the cemetery look like a peaceful park

A Bit of History

Père Lachaise opened in 1804 during the Napoleonic era, as Paris needed more burial space beyond the limited church cemeteries.

It takes its name from King Louis XIV’s confessоr, Père François de la Chaise, who lived on the grounds in the 17th century.

“La chaise” is the French for “the chair.”

Over the years, the cemetery grew into a revered site where many luminaries wished to be buried.

Nowadays it is a bit on the touristy side, as more and more visitors of Paris seek to stroll its alleyways, either solo or as part of a guided tour.

Jim Morrison's Grave in Pere Lachaise

Jim Morrison’s grave is hard to miss, as it is the most colorful spot in the cemetery

Notable Graves and Memorials

One of the biggest draws of Père Lachaise is the sheer number of famous figures laid to rest here. Some of the most visited graves include:

  • Jim Morrison, lead singer of The Doors
  • Oscar Wilde, celebrated Irish writer
  • Édith Piaf, legendary French singer
  • Frédéric Chopin, Polish composer and pianist
  • Marcel Proust, French novelist
  • Molière, French playwright and actor
  • George Enescu (Enesco), Romanian musician and composer
  • Guillaume Apollinaire, famous French poet

The Cemetery also hosts memorials to victims of World War II and the Holocaust.

obelisque pere lachaise

There’s even an obelisk in this graveyard

Architecture and Landscapes

Covering 110 acres, Père Lachaise features remarkable funerary architecture from different eras, including ornate tombs, mausoleums, sculptures, and family vaults.

Winding tree-lined paths create an serene atmosphere, with manicured gardens and wooded areas perfect for tranquil strolls.

Strolling along these paths feels like a walk in a very old park.

Besides, trying to find the famous people buried here feels like an Easter eggs hunt or like a Pokemon game.

Guided Tours

To fully appreciate Père Lachaise’s history and famous residents, consider taking a guided tour during your visit. Knowledgeable local guides can provide context and fascinating stories behind the monuments and graves.

Click here to find one of the best-selling guided tours of Pere Lachaise.

There are also self-guided audio tours you can buy. Here’s one example of such guide. They are very cheap, yet they can’t stand up to tours led by expert guides.

Click here to buy Meet Me at Pere Lachaise, a book that showcases the pictures, lives and resting places of some of the most famous writers, musicians, poets and opera singers in this cemetery.

tomb pere lachaise

Practical Tips

Here are a few tips to help you make the most out of your visit to Pere Lachaise.

Get a Map

There are cemetery map vendors by the entrance. Buy one of these maps! You’ll put it to good use while searching for your favorite persons inside.

orange flowers pere lachaise

Opening Hours

The cemetery is open daily, although hours vary by season.

November 6 – March 15
Mon – Sat 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM
Sun & Holidays 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM

March 16 – November 5
Mon – Sat 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Sun & Holidays 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Entrance Tickets

Pere Lachaise is a cemetery, not a museum. The entrance is free of charge.

There’s no staff to assist the visitors, nor are there any official guided tours of the cemetery.

If you’re keen on going on a guided tour, you should find a third-party company that can arrange that for visitors.

What To Bring

Wear comfortable walking shoes as the grounds cover a large area. Bring water, as there’s no commercial venue inside the cemetery.

Public restrooms are available at the main entrances.

Observe all rules about preservation and respecting graves. Don’t picnic, don’t lounge around and don’t use the cemetery for jogging.

Photography is generally allowed for personal use. Bring your camera and maybe a tripod (particularly if you want to take photos by the end of the visiting hours).

How Much Time Would this Visit Take?

You can spend anywhere between one and three hours visiting Pere Lachaise, roaming around, seeking for famous people buried here.

My first visit to Pere Lachaise was cut short because of the rain. The second time, however, I spent about three hours wandering around and taking photos.

Whether you seek a somber history lesson or simply want to admire the beautiful architecture and landscapes, Père Lachaise is a must-visit destination in Paris.