SHARE
COPY LINK

PARIS

Parisians turn to cremation as cost of plot in cemeteries rockets skyward

It's a tough fit if you want to be buried in Paris.

Parisians turn to cremation as cost of plot in cemeteries rockets skyward

There are only 14 cemeteries in the French capital, and whether it's under an overpass next to the Sacre-Coeur basilica in Montmartre, or under shady trees in trendy Montparnasse, the graveyards are mostly full.

French people flock to visit buried relatives on All Saints' Day on November 1, laying flowers on the tombs. But many Parisian cemeteries are  nowadays mostly frequented by tourists, seeking out the last resting place of the rich or famous.

(Montmartre cemetery. AFP)

Best known on the tourist map is the Pere Lachaise cemetery, in the northeast of the capital, with some 70,000 tombs, including those of Irish 
poet and playwright Oscar Wilde, US singer Jim Morrison, Polish composer Frederic Chopin, and French singer Edith Piaf.

(Passy cemetery in Pars. AFP)

But unless you're very rich and famous yourself, it's unlikely you'll find a resting place nearby.

Last year, some 5,000 people wanted to be buried in Paris, but only 171 plots were allocated — at a cost of some 16,000 euros ($18,200) a piece.

To help alleviate the problem, city authorities prefer to grant the dead limited squatting rights, with remains to be turfed out after a specific number of years.

The problem is 97 percent of grave plots in Paris have been sold to families “for life”, whereas it is now the norm to sell them for 10 or 50 years.

But for those desperate to stay in Paris, cremation might be the answer. 

Over the past 20 years, the number of cremations in the city of light has tripled.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

TRAVEL NEWS

Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

Car, moped, public transport, or electric bicycle - which means of transport is the quickest way to get across Paris?

Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

One intrepid reporter for French daily Le Parisien decided to find out. 

The challenge was simple. Which mode of transport would get the journalist from the heart of Fontenay-sous-Bois in the eastern suburbs to the newspaper’s office on Boulevard de Grenelle, west Paris, fastest?

Over four separate journeys, each one in the middle of rush hour, the electric bicycle was quickest and easiest. More expensive than conventional bikes, electric bikes do come with a government subsidy.

The journey was described as ‘pleasant and touristy’ on a dry but chilly morning going via dedicated cycle lanes that meant the dogged journalist avoided having to weave in and out of traffic.

It took, in total, 47 minutes from start to finish at an average speed of 19km/h, on a trip described as “comfortable” but with a caveat for bad weather. The cost was a few centimes for charging up the bike.

In comparison, a car journey between the same points took 1 hour 27 minutes – a journey not helped by a broken-down vehicle. Even accounting for that, according to the reporter’s traffic app, the journey should – going via part of the capital’s southern ringroad – have taken about 1 hr 12.

Average speed in the car was 15km/h, and it cost about €2.85 in diesel – plus parking.

A “chaotic and stressful” moped trip took 1 hour 3 minutes, and cost €1.30 in unleaded petrol.

Public transport – the RER and Metro combined via RER A to Charles-de-Gaulle-Étoile then Metro line 6 to the station Bir-Hakeim – took 50 minutes door to door, including a 10-minute walk and cost €2.80. The journey was described as “tiring”.

READ ALSO 6 ways to get around Paris without the Metro

SHOW COMMENTS