Guides to Père-Lachaise: an update

On a recent trip to Paris I stopped by the book section in the BHV department store and Galignani’s on rue du Rivoli to see if there were anything new out on Paris Cemeteries. Here’s what I found (and it’s not much):


Le Cimetière du Père-Lachaise by Jose de Valverdé and Hervé Hughes (Editions Ouest-France 2017), French. This is an updated version of their 2007 work by the same name. The overall format has not changed: this is basically a history of the cemetery using different eras as backdrops to identifying major figures during that period who are buried in the cemetery. One curious observation: while the page count is virtually identical yet the size of the book is significantly smaller.

Promenade napoléonienne au Père-Lachaise by Jean Tardy and Charles Dolbakian (Vendemaire 2017), French. This is a series of tours through Père-Lachaise focusing on a number of figures connected in one way or another with Napoleon. From Mademoiselle Lenormand to Marshal Ney to Jacques-Louis David and many others this book makes you realize just how much Napoleonic history is buried on that hill. In addition to handy maps with the itineraries neatly laid out each chapter focuses on a specific individual who played a role in the Napoleonic history of France. Although small in size it’s more than 340 pages long with a fine bibliography.

Guide secret des Cimetières Parisiens by Jean-Pierre Hervet (Editions Ouest-France 2017), French. At a little more than 140 pages this slip of a book has little to offer to the serious Paris cemetery researcher — but on closer examination one can find a few interesting curiosities, particularly in the sidebars.

Secrets des Cimetières de Paris by Jacques Barozzi, photos by Bernard Ladoux, (Massin 2012). Arranged by cemetery, division and name with its bilingual text (French and English). Although a bit dated this is still a wonderful overall guide to the major grave sites in the city cemeteries.