Details and information on how to get to the various Paris cemeteries and what to do in each one after you arrive will be dealt with when I talk about each individual cemetery. For now let’s just focus on some basic issues:
1. Wear sturdy shoes.
2. Dress appropriately for the weather – although there is plenty of shade in most cemeteries, wear a hat in the hot summer sun.
3. Bring an umbrella.
4. Bring water and a small picnic lunch if you plan to make the cemetery your day trip -- this will be particularly true if you’re visiting Pere Lachaise since it is so huge.
5. Stop at the office – with the exception of Pere Lachaise normally at the main entrance -- and pick up a map. Note that at Pere Lachaise it is strongly recommended that you buy one of the more detailed maps available just outside the entrances: usually at the florist shops or news kiosks (€2).
6. WCs are usually found at the main entrance(s) to the larger cemeteries.
7. Bring a small flashlight – you never know what cool dark places you might want to peek into.
8. Whether you’re bringing digital, video or film, bring extra everything: batteries, film, videotape, and memory cards, whatever.
9. Oh, and speaking of camera gear, leave the tripod at home, at least at Pere Lachaise – it is forbidden to use a tripod in that cemetery (don’t ask me why, ask the French), unless you get permission from the “conservation” building at the main entrance at Blvd. Menilmontant.
10. The cobble stone streets are pretty to look at but can be quite a challenge to walk on for any length of time so try and walk on the side whenever possible.
11. Bring wetwipes.
12. Bring tracing paper and a pencil to help bring out the inscriptions on some of the older stones.
That’s pretty much it – although if you have any suggestions I’d love to hear from you and would happy to include them. (photo above: detail from a monument in division 48 of Pere Lachaise.)
Wish you were here,