Not the oldest cemetary in Paris, but it is the biggest and most visited. The cemetery takes its name from the confessor to Louis XIV, Père François de la Chaise, who lived in a Jesuit house rebuilt in 1682 on the site of the chapel.
Like seemingly everything else of consequence in Paris, this too was setup by Napoleon. The guy was nothing if not grand, his vision of Paris outlasted him.
The cemetary wasn't vary popular until the remains of Pierre Abélard and Héloïse were relocated there. They had a Romeo and Julliete type story, both bright scholars in the early 1100's, they were seperated when their affair was discovered. Playing the part of a drama queen, Héloïse ran off and joined the convent of Argenteuil. The popular story is that Abélard died first, and when Héloïse died, Abélard's grave was opened so she could be laid with her lover and as she was lowered, his arms opened to embrace her.
In the 15th century 113 love letters in a manuscript were discovered documenting their early affair.
Letters from modern lovers, and would be or hopefull lovers are now left at the grave. It was undergoing some restoration when we were there so we couldn't get very close, bummer.
They love their dancers in Paris they do.
Stars in France die grusome deaths just like their conterparts in America. Duncan died in a freak automobile accident in Nice, France when her large silk scarf, still wrapped around her neck, became entangled in the car's open-spoked wheel, breaking her neck.
Gilbert Morard, father of the modern French metro, I think, or the patron saint of trains. Not much on the internet despite the popularity of his grave site.
The most famous resident, at least to the majority of Americans is one Jim Morrison. Wow, you should have seen the hippy's and people dressed 30yrs out of their age range hanging around. Crazy.