Meet the Famous Residents of Paris' Père Lachaise Cemetery


Editor’s note: This post by Benjamin Waldman was originally featured on Untapped Cities, a Flavorwire partner site. Read more from his ongoing series on the cemeteries of Paris here.

Père Lachaise was established in 1804 and is located at 16, rue du Repos. It was named after Père François de la Chaise, the confessor to Louis XIV, who lived on the site. Unfortunately, the cemetery was not an immediate success. Parisians were wary of being buried in a new cemetery, especially one not consecrated by the church. In order to remedy this situation, the cemetery managed to secure the remains of La Fontaine and Molière and transferred them to the cemetery in 1804. Another public relations move occurred in 1817, when the remains of Pierre Abélard and Héloïse were also transferred to the cemetery. They were interred under a canopy made from fragments of the Abbey of Nogent-sur-Seine. Also of note are the Holocaust memorials, the Mur des Fédérés (Communards’ Wall), the lipstick stained tomb of Oscar Wilde, and Jim Morrison’s grave.

Click through below for a slideshow featuring some of Père Lachaise’s most famous residents.

Oscar Wilde, the Irish novelist, poet and playwright.

Marcel Proust, the French novelist, essayist and critic.

Pierre Abélard, the French philosopher, and Héloïse d’Argenteuil, the French abbess and scholar, who had an affair.

Camille Pissarro, the French Impressionist painter.

Colette, the French litterateur.

Louis Visconti, the French architect who designed the modern Louvre and Napoleon’s tomb.

Georges Haussmann, the French civil engineer and town planner responsible for the design of modern Paris.

Amedeo Modigliani, the Italian painter and sculptor.

Jacques-Louis David, the court painter for Napoleon. He was exiled as a revolutionary after the restoration. As a result, his body was not allowed to return to France, so the tomb contains only his heart.

Georges-Pierre Seurat, the French painter and father of neo-impressionism.

Georges Bizet, the French composer and conductor.

Théodore Géricault, the French Romantic painter. His most famous paintings appear on his tomb.

Frédéric Chopin, the Polish composer. Unlike David, his body but not heart is buried here.

Jim Morrison, the American singer and songwriter with The Doors.

Molière, the French playwright, and Jean de La Fontaine, the French litterateur best known for fairy tales.

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, the French painter.

Honoré de Balzac, the French novelist.

Eugène Delacroix, the French Romantic artist.

Sarah Bernhardt, the French stage and film actress.

Gertrude Stein, the American author.

Édith Piaf, the French singer.

Victor Noir, the journalist killed by Pierre Napoleon Bonaparte in a dispute over a duel with Paschal Grousset.