Keith Eggener on the World’s Most Famous Resting Place

March 9, 2021

Photo of Pere Lachaise cemetery

The final resting place for the likes of Gertrude Stein, Oscar Wilde, Richard Wright, Jim Morrison, and countless more, Père Lachaise is perhaps the most legendary cemetery in the world.

Keith Eggener—the Marion D. Ross Distinguished Professor of Architectural History and head of the Department of the History of Art and Architecture—recently spoke to How Stuff Works (HSW) about the famed Paris landmark. Eggener is a leading expert on the architectural history of cemeteries, having authored the book Cemeteries (2010).

“Established by Napoleon in 1804, Père Lachaise is Paris's largest cemetery, consisting of more than 100 acres (40 hectares) and over 1,000,000 internments,” Eggener told HSW.

He also explained how the Parisian landmark’s informal layout inspired 19th-century American landscape designers of cemeteries and public parks.

“One of the things I've always found most intriguing about the place is its distinctly urban quality—its named, cobblestone streets densely lined with little stone tomb-houses, its cast-iron street furniture, its division into neighborhoods, and even its socio-spatial segregation (e.g., separate areas for Christians, Muslims and Jews),” Eggener added.

Read more in the article, “Who's Buried at Père Lachaise, the Largest Cemetery in Paris?”