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Thursday Doors: Père LaChaise Cemetery, Paris, France

Père LaChaise Cemetery

Père LaChaise Cemetery

Today, I thought I would do something different for Thursday Doors. This is a video I made of Père LaChaise Cemetery in Paris, France! Lots of doors here!

The cemetery is named after Father Francois de la Chaise, (1624-1709) the confessor to Louis XIV, who lived in the Jesuit house that was on the property at one time.  The sight opened as a cemetery on May 21, 1804 with the burial of a five year old child. That first year only thirteen people were buried here because it was felt the cemetery was too far from Paris. Also, Catholics would not be buried here because the Catholic Church had not blessed it. Later in 1804, with great fanfare, the decision was made to transfer the remains of Jean de La Fontaine (poet) and Molière (actor/writer), seen as rock stars in their day, to the cemetery.  Again in 1817, the purported remains of Abélard (philosopher) and Héloise d’Argenteuil (his lover) were also transferred with their monument’s canopy made from fragments of an abbey. This strategy led to the desired results: people were determined to be buried among the famous citizens.  The famous and wealthy people buried here would try to out do each other, even in death, with beautiful burial chambers, most the size of a phone booth, but some very extravagant.  Père Lachaise was expanded five times and today over one million bodies are buried here in 110 acres. Many, many more are in the columbarium, which holds the remains of those who have requested cremation.

Today, strict rules apply to be buried in the cemetery.  To be buried here one must have died in Paris or lived there. Also there are 50, 30 and 10 year leases on the burial sites. After the lease is up the remains are removed and placed in Aux Morts, (to the Dead) an ossuary, similar to the famous catacomb sights.  When the ossuary is full, the bones are cremated and then returned to the sight. I wanted to see the graves of Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, and Oscar Wilde. A roster of all the famous people buried here can be found on the internet. I would suggest taking a map of the cemetery with you or download the Maplet of Père Lachaise Cemetery on your IPhone as we had. After all there are 110 acres to explore and it is very steep and uneven with forest like ledges in some areas. Also note, that at 4pm in the winter, bell ringers ringing old fashioned school bells, walk the cemetery to announce that the cemetery closes at 5pm. You do not want to be locked in the cemetery left to scale a 20 foot gate!  I hope you enjoy the video!

This is just one of many photos in the Thursday Door Collection featured by Norm2.0!   Won’t you join in or take a peak at all the doors?

15 Responses to “Thursday Doors: Père LaChaise Cemetery, Paris, France”

  1. Manja Mexi Movie

    Lovely memories. I was there twice. The first time I was amazed at the little houses, back home in Slovenia our graveyards are completely flat. And we have candles burning in the cemeteries, whereas in France I didn’t see a single one, and it was November 1st. I went for Jim, so Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf and some more, such as Chopin, Moliere and Proust, were a nice surprise.

    Reply
  2. sustainabilitea

    I do love French cemeteries. Often there photos of the dead person as well as flowers. I’ve never been to this cemetery, although I’ve heard a lot about it. Great job on the video.

    janet

    Reply
  3. Pistachios

    This might seem kind of strange, but for the longest time, I’ve wanted to visit a cemetery – not to see the grave of anyone in particular, but more to see the actual cemetery itself. Watching your video was the next best thing 😉
    Also, perhaps this is just me, but I didn’t realise that some burial sites have leases. It seems a bit odd…

    Reply
    • CadyLuck Leedy

      Yes in many European countries there just is not enough space to bury everyone. So there are leases on the tombs. I would think the leases would be continued in the family, especially if the tomb is quite costly and decorative for that family. If the family dies out then it would be offered to lease or if the family does not continue to pay for the space.

      Reply
      • Pistachios

        Ohh ok, that does make sense. I suppose I just never really thought about how this sort of space issue would be managed.

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