It is one of the most famous tourist sites in the capital. Père-Lachaise, located in the heart of the 20th arrondissement, is one of the 14 intramural cemeteries managed by the city of Paris. Opened in 1804, this place steeped in history attracts nearly 3 million visitors each year, including 50,000 curious visitors on All Saints Day.
The allure of such curiosity? Among the graves of anonymous deceased also lie French and foreign personalities. For Bertrand Beyern, lecturer and organizer of visits to the cemeteries of Paris, it is “impossible to visit Père-Lachaise in a single day”. At the bend of a long walk between the paths of Père-Lachaise in the company of thirty-something visitors, the tourist guide tells Planet.
“Anonymous and deceased celebrities rub shoulders in the alleys of Père-Lachaise”, he explains to us, slipping in a funny anecdote. “Every summer, we see the walkers arriving, very relaxed on vacation, following the funeral processions and taking photos in the middle of the funeral, thinking that it is a star”.
If the number of people buried in Père-Lachaise is difficult to count, several graves of stars are prized by fans and taphophiles alike. The latter devoting a passion for visiting cemeteries, or any element related to death. Among these very significant encounters, Bertrand Beyern crosses paths with several grave hunters or even fans who place unusual objects on the grave of their idol.
Like Gilbert Bécaud’s grave, visited by “two elderly ladies who unfolded a real polka-dot tie on his grave”, Bertrand Beyern reminds us, in tribute to the singer’s favorite accessory who died in 2001. Among the other graves of stars, the speaker even tells us that a famous comedian of the 20th century rests not far from his favorite pianist, having lived in the 19th century. Or the grave of a huge singer who died in 2009, covered with kisses from his admirers.
On the occasion of All Saints’ Day, Planet reveals a (non-exhaustive) list of the graves of stars to visit in Père-Lachaise. Artists, actors or directors, this is what their graves look like today.