Pere Lachaise Cemetery is the largest cemetery in the city of Paris, France (44 hectares (110 acres)), though there are larger cemeteries in the city's suburbs. Pere Lachaise is in the 20th arrondissement, and is reputed to be the world's most visited cemetery, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors annually to the graves of those who have enhanced French life over the past 200 years. It is also the site of three World War I memorials.
The cemetery is on Boulevard de Menilmontant. The Paris Metro station Philippe Auguste on line 2 is next to the main entrance, while the station called Pere Lachaise, on both lines 2 and 3, is 500 metres away near a side entrance. Many tourists prefer the Gambetta Station on line 3, as it allows them to enter near the tomb of Oscar Wilde and then walk downhill to visit the rest of the cemetery.
The cemetery takes its name from the confessor to Louis XIV, Pere Francois de la Chaise (1624-1709), who lived in the Jesuit house rebuilt in 1682 on the site of the chapel. The property, situated on the hillside from which the king during the Fronde, watched skirmishing between the Conde and Turenne, was bought by the city in 1804. Established by Napoleon in this year, the cemetery was laid out by Alexandre-Theodore Brongniart, and later extended.
Cemetery Today :
Père Lachaise is still an operating cemetery and accepting new burials. However, the rules to be buried in a Paris cemetery are rather strict: people may be buried in one of these cemeteries if they die in the French capital city or if they lived there. Being buried in Père Lachaise is even more difficult nowadays as there is a waiting list: very few plots are available. The gravesites at Père Lachaise range from a simple, unadorned headstone to towering monuments and even elaborate mini chapels dedicated to the memory of a well-known person or family. Many of the tombs are about the size and shape of a telephone booth, with just enough space for a mourner to step inside, kneel to say a prayer, and leave some flowers.