1 place Denfert-Rochereau, Metro Denfert-Rochereau
Closed Mondays and holidays.
This used to be Hell Square-place D'enfer. If you want to spend time with the dead but don't care to look at gravestones, a nice little jaunt for you may be a cold musty underground walk through an old Roman quarry that became an ossuary in 1785. Overcrowding of Parisian cemeteries meant some had to go underground. Here you may marvel at millions and millions of bones, skulls and skeletons, some artfully placed, belonging to some 6 million dead Parisians. Plan for a long walk among somewhat claustrophobic though satisfyingly ghoulish conditions. When you enter you'll see an ominous sign proclaiming "Here Lies the Empire of the Dead!"
open daily 7:30 am-6 pm Metro Père-Lachaise & Gambetta.
Free maps available at the rue des Rondeaux entrance. Flowers may also purchased nearby.
This is a great activity anytime of the year, but on November 1st the city of the dead becomes alive with all of its mortal visitors. You'll find every sort of tribute to the dead heresimple markers, ornate mausoleums, crypts, and statues. It is like walking through a forgotten city, and meandering paths lead you to stumble upon a poet or painter. Many have been here before (many will never leave), but is a special experience nonetheless. Here are a few highlights, though you could easily spend hours here.
Heloise and Abelard: Div 7
History’s greatest lovers are here finally reunited under a simple enclosed structure.
Jim Morrison: Div 6
French authorities have decided he can stay indefinitely. Due to graffiti, alcohol, and a host of other unusual activities for a cemetery there had been a possibility that he would be returned to the USA once his lease expired. Have no fear, just look for fans and a waft of pot smoke.
Victor Noir: Div 92
He was a journalist killed for criticizing someone related to Napoleon 3rd. His bronze figure lies prostate and has become a lucky charm of sorts for infertile women. They climb atop and rub themselves against him in hopes of becoming fertile. Frankly, Jim Morrison should be the least of the cemetery’s worries- he has nothing on this guy.
Chopin‘s crying muse can be found in Division 11, and Oscar Wilde is in Division 89. In Division 97 you will find a series of moving sculptures dedicated to victims of Nazi concentration camps and resistance fighters.
If you find none of this the least bit fascinating, may we suggest you rent a few movies: