In my effort to visit every arrondissement in Paris, I knew that we would go to the Père Lachaise Cemetery in the 20th Arrondissement. As far as I could tell, there isn’t much else out there, but the cemetery should be enough of a draw itself.
This was our second visit to Père Lachaise. Mr. Selfish and I had been in 2006, but we didn’t have a map so we just wandered aimlessly around. This time, we downloaded a map onto our phone and were able to find all of the famous graves. I would recommend downloading or purchasing a map of Père Lachaise. It is a very large and hilly cemetery with over 1 million bodies buried there (this number does not include the number there was cremated there). You will have a very difficult time finding any graves in particular if you don’t have a map.
Nevertheless, if wandering around aimlessly is your goal, this is the place to do it. There are so many places to admire and ponder, and it was particularly beautiful with the autumn leaves.
Some people definitely chose very interesting tombstones, and you could tell that they wanted to be remembered.
Finally, we found some famous graves: Chopin, Edith Piaf, Jim Morrison, Gertrude Stein, Bizet, and Oscar Wilde. The grave of Oscar Wilde was so popular and defaced by lipstick kisses that the authorities had to place a plastic barrier around the grave. It still didn’t stop people from leaving him kisses – even on the plastic barrier.
Don’t forget to check out my recommendations for the other arrondissements in Paris here.