There’s more than you might expect in the cemeteries of Paris.
At Cimetière du Père Lachaise, 16 rue du Repos, in the 20th arrondissement (Père Llachaise or Gambetta metro stops) make sure you have a map – an enormous 44 hectares and containing 70,000 burial plots, you can spend a whole day looking for the graves of Oscar Wilde (leave a kiss), Edith Piaf (sing je regrette rien), or Jim Morrison (sip some whisky) – or get lost amongst the majestic 19th century mausoleums and gothic graves. Look for the burial places of Frederic Chopin, Moliere, Gertrude Stein, Modigliani and Camille Pissarro among many others. Frequented by the living too, visited by artists and lovers, it is hauntingly romantic, decrepit and beautiful.
Cimetière Montparnasse, at 3 Boulevard Edgar Quinet in the 14th arrondissement (Raspail or Edgar Quinet metro stops) is 19 hectares containing the graves of many of France’s intellectual and artistic elite including Samuel Beckett, Charles Baudelaire, Serge Gainsbourg, Jean Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Guy de Maupassant and Alfred Dreyfus among many others. Formerly the site of three farms, this is a tree-lined haven of peace.
Cimetière Passy, at 2 Rue du Commandant-Schloessing in the 16th arrondissement (Trocaderometro stop), is only 1.6 hectares, but has among its more famous residents, Edouard Manet, Claude DeBussy, Marcel Renault and Bao Dai (the last Emperor of Vietnam). And all shadowed by the Eiffel Tower.