The Pére Lachaise Cemetery looks like everyday could be Halloween in Paris. It’s the largest resting place for writers, artists, thinkers and revolutionaries from as far back as the 18th century. It’s also one of the spookiest. Dating back to 1802, the cemetery is an open-air museum of crumbling tombstones, broken-in mausoleums, gothic crypts, and deep vaults making this an odd attraction but also worth visiting.
I wouldn’t be caught dead in here after dark but in the daytime, visitors tiptoe through to see old and famous tombstones.
Tip: With over 44 hectares, it is easy to get lost in the trails. After we ran around in circles in this labyrinth, we realized there is an office where you can get a free map. Make sure you get a map and plan ahead the spots you want to check out.
Note his worn out pants and shoes. Victor Noir was a French writer who’s grave is now a fertility symbol. Women flock here to kiss his lips (those are worn out too), put a flower in his top hat, and rub him in his *special area* in hopes they’ll have children, a good sex life, or a husband in a year. It got so bad – women were even jumping on top of him (insert your imagination here) that French authorities had to put up a barrier to keep them away. Eventually the French protested and it came down.
We were lucky enough to see Oscar Wilde‘s tomb of kisses and red lipstick tributes before the city washed it clean last year. Apparently, they now added a glass barrier to keep the girls off this man. Clearly other things were rubbed besides his face.
One of the most visited gravesites is the Jim Morrison grave. His grave became so popular that the cemetery had to issue a code of conduct after fans started taking drugs and having sex on his grave.
Legend has it that Jim Morrison is guarded with a black cat that sits on top of his gravesite every night. We paid a visit to Mr. Morrison himself because ghost tales are fun. Disappointingly on his gravesite, we saw no cat. Not even a paw print.
And then on our way back look who we found…
I don’t know for sure if this could be the cat but it definitely made for an eerie encounter. In my gut, I felt like it was the Jim Morrison cat. It had to be. What were the chances of finding a black cat here exactly as the urban legend says?
So many crypts are covered in webs and spiders. If you look closely you can see one here.
The cemetery is full of passageways and twisting lanes that lead into one another.
Best way to get there: Métro Philippe Auguste (Lines 2 and 3) in the 20th arrondissement on Boulevard de Ménilmontant.
Entrance fee: Free! Or take a walking tour to hear stories and legends of the gravestones.