The Père Lachaise cemetery stretches over 43 hectares (439,300 m2). It counts nearly 70 00 concessions and more than 200 are considered as famous people: Molière, La Fontaine, Balzac, Apollinaire, Eluard, Oscar Wilde, Racine, Daudet, Chopin, Piaf, Jim Morrison, Henri Salvador, Bécaud, Moustaki, Michel Petrucciani, Maria Callas, ...
Restoration of graves, a private matter
The cemetery service manages 20 Parisian cemeteries, including the Père Lachaise cemetery, with 634 000 concessions. It has a budget for the restoration of monuments of the order of 40 000 to 50 000 € per year. The City of Paris is not obliged to preserve, restore, clean or repair the graves of cemeteries. This budget is therefore allocated to monuments and burials belonging to the City of Paris.
According to French law, since funerary monuments are private property, it is legally the responsibility of the owners of these monuments to maintain, repair and restore them.
Père Lachaise, the constraints of a classified site
Part of the Père Lachaise cemetery is designated as a historical monument and Georges Méliès' grave, division 64, is not in this zone. However, in practice, in the case of renovation or works, burials and monuments belonging to private individuals follow the same administrative route as those in the classified zone.
The work of a private burial must:
- to be reversible
- have the approval of the ABF commission (Architectes des Bâtiments de France) before any intervention.
- respond to the recommendations of the Conservatoire du Père Lachaise:
- list of licensed art conservators (no question of taking a funeral parlor)
- techniques used
- procedures and steps
- annual calendar constraints.