Pay your respects to Balzac, Sarah Bernhardt, Pierre Bourdieu, Maria Callas, Colette, Gertrude Stein and (the disproportionately famous) Jim Morrison at Paris’ elegiac “walk of fame,” the cemetery Père Lachaise. Established in 1804 by Napoleon I, the 118.6 acre cemetery was built to relieve the overcrowded burial grounds of central Paris. Far from the action, the speculator Nicolas Frochot cleverly convinced city officials to inter the remains of Molière and La Fontaine as bait for visitors and future clientele. The ploy worked: since then, the rich and famous have sought to secure a spot of eternal rest among Père Lachaise’s venerable residents.
The Père Lachaise website includes a virtual tour, A-Z grave listings, and detailed maps. While hunting down your favorite poet, look out for the Communards’ Wall, the scene of the bloody last stand for 147 defenders of the Paris Commune.