The Père Lachaise cemetery and its surroundings

Père Lachaise hill is characterized by sculpture, famous graves and greenery: a bucolic walk in Paris

The Père Lachaise hill is known for its cemetery, a huge garden of sculptures and statues where a number of well-known personalities lie. This district with its pastoral look and little pathways, small pavilions with little flower gardens, offers walkers a veritable little piece of the countryside in Paris.

1 The Smoking Museum

Musée du Fumeur, Paris  © DR

The Musée du Fumeur exhibits a permanent collection of objects and plants made use of by smokers at different periods in history. A selection of ... snuffboxes, pipes and engravings are on display, along with a 'plantarium' housing a variety of plants cultivated especially for smoking. The museum’s bookshop stocks a variety of tobacco-related works, from comic books and paperbacks to treatises on the subject. In addition, this compact venue can be hired out for private functions, birthdays, meetings, etc. The Musée du Fumeur is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 2pm to 7pm.

2 The Père Lachaise cementery

Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris © Thinkstock

The Père Lachaise is the biggest and best-known cemetery in the capital. Located in the 20th arrondissment, it sprawls across an area of 44 hectares ... The Jesuits originally purchased the site in the 17th century with the intention of starting a convalescent home there. One of the most famous occupants was François d’Aix de La Chaise, known as 'Le Père La Chaise', the Sun King’s confessor. Père La Chaise’s brother subsequently enlarged the property before being forced to sell it to pay off a debt. The gardens were abandoned for a while and then bought by the Prefect of the Seine in the 18th century. In the 19th century, Consul Napoleon Bonaparte ordered several new cemeteries to be built to make up for the lack of burial places within the city.

3 Père-Lachaise artists workshops

The artists’ studios of Père Lachaise, Paris © DR

Although more modest in size than the Belleville artists’ workshops, those of Père Lachaise are no less interesting. Joint artistic projects, guest artists from France and abroad, joint publications and collections. Contemporary art is flourishing in the 20th arrondissement!

4 La Campagne à Paris

La Campagne à Paris, 20e arrondissement © OTCP - Amélie Dupont

In 1906, a workers’ cooperative bought some land, formerly quarried for gypsum, to build two and three floor houses and so create a village atmosphere. Time passed and the housing scheme grew resulting in around one hundred houses now a haven of peace and vegetation banned to cars!