A rainy walk on a chilly, grey day through Père Lachaise was in contrast to some of the bright colors in the cemetery. I had time for a quick walk through the western portion before the city employee in the small white truck chased me out of the park early for closing time. C’est la vie!
In additional to photos, the words “concession à perpétuité” printed on the back of tombstones made me curious about burial in Paris. I found a treasure trove of information on the internet: History of Père Lachaise, twenty-one cemetery maps, funeral, burial and cemetery information and more ….
Also known as Cimetière de l’Est opened 1804. The property, Montlouis, belonged to the Jesuits, one of whom, François de La Chaise, was the confessor of Louis XIV. For public health reasons, cemeteries were banned from the center of Paris in 2 ventôse an IX (February 21, 1801).
Telepathically speaking, on February 19, a rainy afternoon, 217 years later, I was once again on a brief visit to Père-Lachaise.
On the next visit, I will visit the west side with its Mur des Fédérés, which commemorates those who died in the bloody battle of May 1871 during the last hours of the Semaine Sanglante (Bloody Week) of the Commune de Paris.
If you are looking for Bellini or Rossini, they were transferred to Italy. The ashes of Maria Callas were spread in the Aegean Sea and the remains of Monge are now in the Panthéon. In October 2017, Mayor Anne Hidalgo inaugurated the monument to the 11,450 Jewish children deported and killed between 1942 and 1944 at the Père Lachaise cemetery.
Maps within the walls of Paris (14 cemeteries) – some of the specialties are: Route of famous women (Montparnasse) map in English; mapa en español; special needs (accessibility) map for Montmartre
Maps outside the walls of Paris (6 cemeteries)
List and location of the twenty cemeteries
Pet cemetery – Asnières-sur-Seine – Map
Looking for someone buried in Paris? Read the section “Vous recherchez un dèfunt?” Contact Service central des Cimetières, 71 rue des Rondeaux, 75020 Paris. The papers to help find the person would include, civil status, date of death, cemetery name, etc.) This would be a manual research and currently in the 20 cemeteries, there are 630,000 plots and 7 million buried.
Funeral and cemetery information
Some sepulchers have an imprint on the back of the tombstone “concession à perpétuité“, which means the tomb and its contents remain forever. While looking deeper into this, I found that there are conditions for a tomb. The terrain is free for a maximum of five years without chance of renewal. One can have a cemetery plot (concession) for different time limits: Temporaire (maximum 15 years); trentenaire (30 years); cinquantenaire (50 years); perpétuelle (unlimited). Types of cemetery plots are individual, collective or family. All the links for details are found on the Associaition Française d’Information Funéraire.
On the Association website, you can find instructions and funeral dictionary in English and German. Topics in English include:
- Choosing a funeral home, financing funerals
- Things to do when someone dies at home
- Preservation of the body before placement in the coffin
- Hospital and private mortuary, transfer of the body upon request from an institution…
- Cremation, legal status of the ashes, disposition of the urn and the ashes, statistics…
- Funeral home expenses
- Dispersal of the ashes in Mediterranean, in the Atlantic
- Charter of quality and ethics