5 cemeteries you should visit in Paris

Peaceful, beautiful and full of incredible sculptures, Paris's cemeteries are havens of tranquility – and offer a chance to visit the resting places of history's most famous people

5 mins

Jim Morrison's Grave in Paris (Shutterstock.com)
Jim Morrison’s grave in Paris (Shutterstock)

1. Cimetière du Père Lachaise

16, rue du Repos, 75020, Paris

Opened in 1804, with over 69,000 ornate tombs and more than 1 million people buried there, Cimetière du Père Lachaise is often described as a 44-hectare sculpture garden. As the final resting place for the likes of Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison and Édith Piaf, it is also one of the most-visited cemeteries in the world.

Who’s there?

Rock star, Jim Morrison

Composer Frédéric Chopin

Playwright Molière

Singer Édith Piaf

Writers Balzac, Proust, Gertrude Stein and Oscar Wilde

Actress Sarah Bernhardt

Interesting fact:

Père Lachaise was the first cemetery in the world to issue a code of conduct after fans started taking drugs and having sex on Jim Morrison’s grave.

Nearest Metro station:

Père Lachaise or Philippe Auguste

Montmartre CemeteryTourists strolling through Montmartre Cemetery (Shutterstock)

2. Cimetière de Montmartre

20, avenue Rachel, 75018 Paris

As befits a cemetery set in one of Paris' artistic hubs, Montmartre is the final resting place of many famous artists who lived and worked in the area. Set in an abandoned gypsum quarry, it is also one of the most atmospheric.

Who’s there?

Writers Émile Zola, Alexandre Dumas

Film director François Truffaut

Dancer Vaslav Nijinsky

Interesting fact:

During the French Revolution, the abandoned quarries that eventually became the cemetery were used as mass graves for those killed during riots – including several hundred Swiss Guards killed defending the Tuileries on 10 August 1792.

Nearest Metro station:

Blanche or Place de Clichy

Aerial view of Montparnasse cemetery (Shutterstock.com)Aerial view of Montparnasse Cemetery (Shutterstock

3. Cimetière du Montparnasse

3, boulevard Edouard Quinet 75014 Paris

Also known as 'The Left Bank Cemetery', Montparnasse is regarded by many Parisians as a peaceful park in the heart of one of the busiest quarters of the city. As well as countless ornate headstones you'll find over 1,200 trees, mainly sophoras, thuyas, maples, ash, lime trees and conifers.

Who’s there?

Poet Charles Baudelaire

Playwright Samuel Beckett

Industrialist André Citroën

Philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre

Writer Simone de Beauvoir

Singer Serge Gainsbourg

Interesting fact:

Fans of Serge Gainsbourg leave metro tickets atop his tombstone as a homage to his famous song ‘Le Poinçonneur des Lilas’ (The Ticket Puncher of Lilas).

Nearest Metro station:

Edgar Quinet or Raspail

Passy Cemetery, Eiffel Tower (Shutterstock.com)
The historic Passy Cemetery (Shutterstock)

4. Cimetière de Passy

2, rue du Commandant-Schlœsing 75016 Paris

Opened in 1820 on the orders of Napoleon 1, in an expensive residential and commercial district near the Champs-Élysées, this small cemetery fast became the aristocratic necropolis of Paris. Sheltered by a chestnut trees, it sits in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, just behind the Trocadéro.

Who's there?

Impressionist painters Edouard Manet and Berthe Morisot

Composers Claude DeBussy and Gabriel Faure

Bao Dai, the last emperor of Vietnam

American newspaper publisher James Gorden Bennett Jr

Interesting fact:

It is the only cemetery in Paris to have a heated waiting-room.

Nearest Metro station:


Layette's grave, Picpus Cemetery (Flickr Creative Commons: Tangopaso)

5. Cimetière de Picpus

35 Rue de Picpus, 75012, Paris

One of the trickiest cemeteries to find in Paris, this large private cemetery is tucked behind a nondescript wooden door, well away from the crowded city centre in the 12th Arrondissement. Noblemen who were guillotined during the French Revolution were buried here in mass graves on land seized from the Convent of the Chanoinesses de St-Augustin, as were 16 Carmelite nuns who went to their death singing hymns.

Who's there?

1,306 victims guillotined between 14 June to 27 July, 1794

The 16 Carmelite nuns guillotined on 17 July, 1794

Marquis de Lafayette, a French aristocrat and military officer who fought for the United States in the American Revolutionary War

Architect of Versaille, Richard Mique

Interesting fact:

Lafayette is buried with dirt from Bunker Hill in the States and his grave is watched over by an American flag, which the Nazis left untouched when they occupied Paris in the Second World War. Lafayette was only allowed to be buried in the cemetery because some of his wife’s relatives who were guillotined during the French Revolution, a prerequisite to getting a plot there.

Nearest Metro station:

Nation or Picpus


Main image: Tombs of Pere Lachaise cemetery (Shutterstock)

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