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Cimitiere Pere Lachaise

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Although not necessarily a park, the Pere Lachaise Cemetery still is worthy of mention as it is well worth a visit during your holiday in Paris. This cemetery is the largest in the City of Paris at 44 hectares with over 50,000 trees, and is considered to be the world's most visited cemetery with over 2 million visitors each year, primarily because of the many famous people who are buried there. Famous French and foreign philosophers, artists, musicians, and actors are located here, in particular French composer Georges Bizet, Polish composer Frederic Chopin, French mime artist Marcel Marceau, French actor Moliere, Jim Morrison of the American band, The Doors, artist Camille Pissaro, and Irish writer and poet Oscar Wilde.

Located in the 20 th arrondissement about 4 km northeast of Notre Dame Cathedral, the cemetery is easily accessible by the Paris Metro via Line #2 to either the Pere Lachaise or Philippe Auguste subway stops. Even though the subway station is named Pere Lachaise, it is recommended that you debark at the Philippe Auguste stop, as it is closer to the main entranceway.

The name Pere Lachaise comes from the Jesuit priest Francois de la Chaise d'Aix, who was King Louis XIV's father confessor who lived in Paris during the 17 th century. In fact the property in which the cemetery now lies was presented to Francois de la Chaise by King Louis XIV, which was then called Mount-Louis.

The cemetery opened in 1804 by Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and now has over one million people buried here. The list of famous French and foreign dignitaries is too large to mention in this article but aside from the few mentioned above, the list of famous people buried here also includes: French can-can dancer Jane Avril, Honore de Balzac, actress Sarah Bernhardt, artist Eugene Delacroix, German artist Max Ernst, two time Tour de France winner Laurent Fignon, actor Yves Montand, Edmond James de Rothchild, actress Simone Signoret, and American writer Gertrude Stein along with her partner Alice B. Toklas.

As you can see the list of famous people who are interned here at the Pere Lachaise Cemetery is quite impressive, and there is no question why this cemetery has millions of visitors each year, despite the relatively far distance away from other popular attractions in the city.

Without question the most infamous grave is that of the American Jim Morrison, the former lead singer of the band The Doors, who were one of the most popular rock bands during the late 1960s. Morrison is alleged to have died from a drug overdose in an apartment on Rue Beautrellis in Paris, about 1.5 km from Notre Dame Cathedral and just 750 meters from the Ile de Saint Louis. His grave is perhaps the most visited site on the property and a very popular tourist attraction with legions of fans that come to pay homage to the ill-fated American rock singer. The grave plot has been vandalized several times and the bust of Jim Morrison was stolen in the 1980s. Because of the frequent vandalism, the grave plot is now guarded.
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