Burial vaults at the Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. Image: AFP/Joel Saget
It’s a tough fit if you want to be buried in Paris
Agence France-Presse / 02:41 PM November 02, 2018
It’s a tough fit if you want to be buried in Paris.
There are only 14 cemeteries in the French capital, and whether it’s under an overpass next to the Sacre-Coeur basilica in Montmartre, or under shady trees in trendy Montparnasse, the graveyards are mostly full.
French people flock to visit buried relatives on All Saints’ Day on November 1, laying flowers on the tombs. But many Parisian cemeteries are nowadays mostly frequented by tourists, seeking out the last resting place of the rich or famous.
Best known on the tourist map is the Pere Lachaise cemetery, in the northeast of the capital, with some 70,000 tombs, including those of Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde, US singer Jim Morrison, Polish composer Frederic Chopin, and French singer Edith Piaf.
But unless you’re very rich and famous yourself, it’s unlikely you’ll find a resting place nearby.
Last year, some 5,000 people wanted to be buried in Paris, but only 171 plots were allocated — at a cost of some 16,000 euros ($18,200) a piece.
To help alleviate the problem, city authorities prefer to grant the dead limited squatting rights, with remains to be turfed out after a specific number of years.
But for those desperate to stay in Paris, cremation might be the answer. Over the past 20 years, the number of cremations in the city of light has tripled. CC