From Academic Kids

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Looking down the hill at the Père Lachaise cemetery

The Cimetière du Père Lachaise is the largest cemetery in Paris, and one of the most famous cemeteries in the world. Located in the 20th arrondissement, Pere-Lachaise Cemetery is reputed to be the most visited cemetery in the world, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors a year to the graves of the those who have enhanced French life over the past 200 years. It is also the location of five Great War memorials.

Contents

Origins

The name has its origins in Père François de la Chaise (1624 - 1709). He was the confessor of Louis XIV, and lived in the Jesuit house rebuilt in 1682 on the site of the chapel. The property, situated on the side of a hill from which the king, during the Fronde, watched skirmishing between the Condé and Turenne, was bought by the city in 1804 and laid out by Alexandre-Théodore Brongniart, and later extended.

The cemetery was established by Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte in 1804, whereas cemeteries had been banned inside Paris in 1786 after the shutting down of the Cimetière des Innocents, on the fringe of Les Halles food market, on the grounds that it presented a health hazard. Several new cemeteries replaced all the Parisian ones, outside the precincts of the capital, in the early 19th century, Cimetière de Montmartre in the north, Le Père Lachaise in the east and Cimetière du Montparnasse in the south. At the heart of the city, and today, sitting in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, is Cimetière de Passy.

At the time the cemetery opened, it was seen as too far from the city and attracted very few interments. As such, the administrators devised a marketing strategy and with great fanfare, organized the transfer of the remains of La Fontaine and Molière, in 1804. Then, in another great spectacle in 1817, the purported remains of Pierre Abélard and Héloïse were also transferred to the cemetery with their monument's canopy made from fragments of the abbey of Nogent-sur-Seine. All this marketing strategy resulted in a great many people clamoring to be buried with such famous citizens. Records show that within a few years, the cemetery went from a few dozen permanent residents to more than 33,000. Nowadays there are over 300,000 bodies buried in the cemetery, and many more in the Columbarium and ones that have been cremated.

In the grounds there is also the Communards' Wall (French Mur des Fédérés) against which 147 communards, the leaders of the Paris Commune were shot on May 28 1871 after the fall of the commune.

Famous personalities interred

Many famous people are buried in the Pere Lachaise Cemetery.

A major attraction for foreign tourists is the grave of Jim Morrison. Permanent crowds and occasional vandalism surrounding this tomb have caused tensions with the families of other, less famous, deceased. The cemetery has been forced to have a security guard watch over it full time.

Some of them are:

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The grave of Hubertine Auclert
The grave of
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The grave of Frédéric Chopin
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The grave of Jim Morrison
The grave of
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The grave of Édith Piaf
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The grave of Oscar Wilde

Main entrance: boulevard de Ménilmontant. Nearest Metro: Père Lachaise (lines 2 and 3)

See also

External links

de:Père Lachaise fr:Cimetière du Père-Lachaise it:Père Lachaise nl:Père Lachaise ja:ペール・ラシェーズ墓地 no:Père Lachaise pl:Cmentarz Père-Lachaise fi:Père-Lachaise sv:Père-Lachaise tr:Pere Lachaise Mezarlığı

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