Paris ~ Père Lachaise Cemetery and the Eiffel Tower

Saturday, July 18th ~ Paris, France

Entrance to Pere Lachaise Cemeter

Entrance to Père Lachaise Cemetery

First, I would like to wish a very happy birthday to my sister, Jan. Looking forward to spending more time with her later this summer when we get to celebrate at my nephews wedding in August and then doing some boating together in the San Juan Islands.

Père Lachaise Cemetery ~ I know it may seem strange to many of you for us to visit a cemetery, but it is famous and listed as the #16 out of 1162 things to do in Paris. We missed it last time we were here, so put it on the list for this trip.

There are several large cemeteries throughout Paris, but probably the most well-known is Père Lachaise. Established in 1804 due to Napoleon’s decree that “Every citizen has the right to be buried regardless of race or religion”. Because the location was a distance from the city center and not consecrated by the church, it took several years before it became accepted. 

Père Lachaise Cemetery

Père Lachaise Cemetery

It is still an active cemetery, although space is extremely limited. To be eligible, one must either have lived in Paris or die in Paris. Over 1 million people are currently buried here.

“The grave sites at Père Lachaise range from a simple, unadorned headstone to towering monuments and even elaborate mini chapels dedicated to the memory of a well-known person or family. Many of the tombs are about the size and shape of a telephone booth, with just enough space for a mourner to step inside, kneel to say a prayer, and leave some flowers.” ~ Wikipedia

Among the famous names of those interred here are Oscar Wilde, Maria Callas, Frederic Chopin, Moliere, Edith Piaf, Balzac, Proust and Jim Morrison.

Jim Morrison's grave

Jim Morrison’s grave adorned with flowers

Getting there: There are several Metro stations that get you close, including Philippe Auguste and Père Lachaise. However, many people prefer going to the Gambetta station on line 3. It allows you to enter the cemetery near the tomb of Oscar Wilde and then walk downhill from there.

Cemetery overall map that shows the streets and sections (not the individual plot locations)

Cemetery overall map that shows the streets and sections (not the individual plot locations)

Cost: There is no entrance fee, however you might want to get a site map that lists the famous graves. The cemetery is huge, winding up, down and around numerous streets and paths and it is not easy to find specific graves without one. We saw maps for sale at the entrance for €2.50.

Here is a slide show to give you a little more idea of what the cemetery looks like. Hopefully it will not take too long to load for you.

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Eiffel Tower ~ There are few monuments in the world more famous or instantly identifiable than the Eiffel Tower.

“Erected in 1889 as the entrance arch to the 1889 World’s Fair, it was initially criticized by some of France’s leading artists and intellectuals for its design” ~ Wikipedia

Fun Facts:

  1. The tower is completely repainted approximately every seven years. It takes an entire year to complete the job, starting at the top and working down.
  2. Approximately 60 tons of paint are used.
  3. It has changed colors several times including red-brown, yellow-ochre, chestnut-brown, and is now a bronze color.
  4. The color is slightly shaded towards the top so that the color looks the same all the way up.
  5. Supplies used – 50 km of security cords, 5 acres of protective netting, 1500 brushes, 5000 sanding disks, 1500 sets of work clothes, and a team of 25 painters. (Toureiffel.paris)
Eiffel Tower shot taken from Trocadero Park

Eiffel Tower shot taken from Trocadero Park

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Sadly they are having a serious problem with pickpockets in Paris and the area around the Eiffel Tower is especially bad. There are also a large number of hawkers setting up their goods on makeshift tablecloths or carrying cheap items to sell to tourists. The local police are working in teams trying to keep it under control, but they are greatly outnumbered by those causing problems.

Vender

Vender “setting up shop”

The police are working in teams trying to keep the area safe for tourists.

The police are working in teams trying to keep the area safe for tourists.

There was even a military presence in full blown gear

There was even a military presence in full-blown gear

On a lighter note, the Tour de France is currently in full swing and headed this way. It will end in Paris on July 26th.

Already t-shirts and other Le Tour de France memorabilia is displayed for sale

Already t-shirts and other Le Tour de France memorabilia is displayed for sale

Gratitude Moment: Today I am grateful that we have never had our pockets picked. What an awful feeling that must be. We do use normal precautions, like keeping passports, jewelry, extra credit card, and most of our money in the hotel safe when we go out. We also try to blend in as much as we can by not carrying a back pack, no camera around the neck, and use a small over the shoulder cross body type purse that is kept in front of me. Tim keeps his wallet and iPhone in his front pockets, and his money/credit card in an inside front zipper pocket if the pants happen to have one.

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our "next chapter". At a stage in life where traveling the world, taking pictures, and sharing our adventures with friends and family will be our dream come true.
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20 Responses to Paris ~ Père Lachaise Cemetery and the Eiffel Tower

  1. I have been to Pairs so many times, but never to the graveyard you described – I have added it to my list as looks very interesting…and I am always happy to find new places in Paris. If you can have a walk around the capital at night – its a completely different experience tn in the day – I recently blogged about it myself. Enjoy. A Wandering Memory

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  2. Mike Alesko says:

    Great post as always, Joanne. I was especially impressed with the Eiffel Tower slide show. You have a remarkable talent for putting perspective in your photos, such as the tower in the context of the roses, a bridge, the big pool, etc. You do it consistently elsewhere too. Ah Paris. The memories…Just last night i saw my daughter using a mug that I’ve had since 1970, “requisitioned” from a bar in the Latin Quarter when visiting the city as a college student, — I went to Paris “as every young man must…” BTW funny, Paris typically conjures up visions of the monuments, the storied churches, old parks and museums, and the funky neighborhoods like the Latin Quarter, Montmarte and Montparnesse. But your cover photo on this post shows a big district of tall office buildings that looks like it could be the modern city center of any big American city. What a contrast! Paris is so incredibly full of things that embrace and titillate all of our senses. What are your favorite sights/experiences there, Joanne?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mike, I am in love with the Orsay Museum. I have been there twice so did not visit this time. I would choose it over the Louvre, but I think that is just a personal preference. Also loved the Rodin Museum. Paris is such a walkable city and simply getting out and exploring a section at a time was fun. Thankfully their excellent metro system can get me back to my starting point at the end of the day when my legs/feet are too tired for another step.

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  3. Lois Roelofs says:

    Loved that cemetery too. We got lost close to closing time and thought we may get locked in for the night. Luckily, we found our way out just in time.

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  4. Paris! I’ve always wanted to go there 🙂 Love all the places you went to and the photos you took! Hope you are having a fantastic day 🙂

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  5. Great photos and write up! Dead on!

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  6. Elene says:

    Thanks for the Pere Lachaise history. Fond memories. When we told our 14-year-old daughter that we were going to a cemetery, she envisioned rows of plain white stones like the veterans’ cemetery here, and thought we were out of our minds. Then it turned out to be her favorite part of the trip– other than the catacombs. (She was in something of a Goth period at the time.)

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  7. Lor @ Lovely & Cozy ♥ says:

    Beautiful photos!! I visited Paris, France a few years ago and it was so captivating, especially the Cemetery!

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  8. Aunt Beulah says:

    I’ve spent time at the Eiffel Tower, but not the cemetery. Your post made me so sorry I missed it. I would have relished the experience of spending time there.

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  9. Beautiful pictures! I have a question about carrying a camera: if you don’t carry it using the neck strap, how do you carry it? Or, are all of your photos taken with your phone? I can’t imagine not being able to have my DSLR with me, but I know that smartphones do pretty well.

    My sister-in-law lives in the Fontainbleau area and we hope to visit her – and use her house as a base camp for other adventures – next spring. I’m using your recent posts as our inspiration!

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    • I’m glad you are enjoying our pictures. We use a small point and shoot, hand held camera most of the time., the Sony RX100. It is small enough to put inside a small bag, front pocket, or keep mostly out of sight in the palm of your hand. We get better pictures with the Sony than we can get with our iPhone. A lot of people still do carry and use their DSLR cameras and if you are with a group or in good areas you will probably be fine with it. We do prefer keeping a little lower profile most of the time however. So glad we can offer some inspiration!

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  10. reinarocks says:

    So enjoyed reading your blog. My husband and I also visit cemeteries when we travel. Normandie and an American military cemetery in Tuscany were unforgettable. But, what was so much a part of the local French culture, was a tiny, local cemetery tucked in behind an ancient church. We had been riding a motorcycle through the Pyrenees and stopped at a “casino” (like a Seven Eleven in France) for a bottle of water. And there it was – with small marble plaques atop crypts that detailed their relationship (work/family, etc.) and memories of the deceased. I love the famous sites, but It’s the spontaneous, the unexpected that makes travel so captivating for me.

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    • Reina, I definitely agree with you that it is the unexpected little things along the way that makes each trip unique, special and memorable. For example, we have been inside more churches in more cities and countries than I can count. However, every once in a while one takes our breath away and leaves us in wonderment. Three come to mind: Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Sainte-Chapelle in Paris and Winchester Cathedral in London. The last one was because we had the amazing privilege of sitting WITH the choir as they sang during Evening Song. The sounds enveloped us and turned the experience from special into magical.

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