Père-Lachaise cemetery, final resting place of numerous notables, is an atmospheric, eerily beautiful haven, with little cobbled footpaths, terraced slopes and magnificent old trees which spread their branches over the tombs as though shading them from the outside world. The cemetery was opened in 1804, after an urgent stop had been put to further burials in the overflowing city cemeteries and churchyards. The civil authorities had Molière, La Fontaine, Abelard and Héloïse reburied here, and to be interred in Père-Lachaise quickly acquired cachet. A free map of the cemetery is available at all the entrances or you can buy a more detailed one at shops on boulevard de Ménilmontant. Among the most visited graves is that of Chopin (Division 11), often attended by Poles bearing red-and-white wreaths and flowers. Fans also flock to the grave of Jim Morrison (Division 6), lead singer of The Doors, who died in Paris at the age of 27, and to Oscar Wilde’s tomb (Division 89), which is topped with a sculpture by Jacob Epstein of a mysterious Pharaonic winged messenger. You can also visit the graves of Edith Piaf, Marcel Proust, Corot, Balzac and Modigliani.

In Division 97 are the memorials to the victims of the Nazi concentration camps and executed Resistance fighters. Marking one of the bloodiest episodes in French history is the Mur des Fédérés (Division 76), the wall where the last troops of the Paris Commune were lined up and shot in the final days of the battle in 1871.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Paris features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Why you should go back to Paris in 2017

Why you should go back to Paris in 2017

There’s nowhere else quite like Paris. No other city can match the allure of its rooftop vistas, café-lined boulevards and striking monuments. Paris’s abil…

11 May 2017 • Eleanor Aldridge insert_drive_file Article
24 breaks for bookworms

24 breaks for bookworms

1. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas In 1971, fuelled by a cornucopia of drugs, Hunter S. Thompson set off for Las Vegas on his “savage journey to the heart of …

02 Mar 2017 • Eleanor Aldridge camera_alt Gallery
20 fantastically romantic places

20 fantastically romantic places

Whether you're looking for a beautiful beach to share a sundowner on, or you want to get lost in each other amongst the bustle of a city, these are the best pl…

09 Feb 2017 • Tim Chester camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month