Paris is home to one of the world’s most famous cemeteries in the form of Père Lachaise which opened it’s gates back in 1804. Père Lachaise has almost 70,000 ornate and ostentatious tombs of the well known rich and famous, buried in the 44 hectare sculpture gardens. Among those buried are Oscar Wilde, Proust, composer Chopin, rock legend Jim Morrison, actors Sarah Bernhardt and Yves Montand, the painter Pissarro and many more.
Père Lachaise Cemetery is the largest cemetery in Paris, although there are some larger cemeteries in the suburbs. The cemetery is still accepting burials but these days it has rather strict rules and a long waiting list as there are very few plots left. The cemetery ranges from simple headstones to towering monuments, even an elaborate mini chapel dedicated to one well know person or whole family.
More commonly visited graves of Père Lachaise are those of Oscar Wilde, interred in division 89 in 1900, and 1960s rock star Jim Morrison, who died in a flat at 17–19 rue Beautreillis (4e) in the Marais district in 1971 and can be found in division 6 of the cemetery.
In May 27th 1871, government forces cornered the communard insurgents who fought a hopeless battle all-night among the tombs of Père Lachaise. By the morning, all 147 survivors were lined up against Mur des Fédérés where they were shot and buried in a mass grave that very same day.
Free maps of Père Lachaise are available at the conservation office. Père Lachaise has 5 entrances of which 2 are on Boulevard de Ménilmontant.