October 30, 2018



They have become over time places to walk, rich in heritage, away from their original mission: the cemeteries of Paris, due to lack of space, require families to bury their loved ones outside of the capital

“We have sounded the alarm for a long time”, is afflicted with the AFP Michel Kawnik, president of the French association of information funeral, who comes to the aid of families at funerals.

“Unfortunately, with the policy choices and management that have been made, there is more room in the parisian cemetery of intra-muros”, adds the activist.

The capital account, however, not less than 20 cemeteries, of which 14 are located in Paris and 6, a small crown, covering an area of 422 hectares.

In the largest necropolis in Paris, the Père Lachaise cemetery, these are the Parisians and tourists who roam the aisles, rare are the relatives of the deceased brought the traditional chrysanthemums for all saints day.

Among the approximately 70,000 concessions in the cemetery we find the graves of Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, Frédéric Chopin, Molière, Yves Montand or Edith Piaf, passing by Serge Gainsbourg…

“Concessions are part of the historical heritage, which can be stored, it is necessary to respect but is what we want the parisian cemetery of intra-muros are not as museums of necropolis?”, questioned, bitter, Michael Kawnik.

And the situation will not improve, as highlighted in a recent report by the regional Chamber of accounts (CRC), anticipating an increase in demand and inadequate supply.

– A cemetery for the “haves” –

In his defence, the mayor of Paris said the situation is not new and dates a century: with the increase of the population of paris in the Nineteenth century, and of death, the first signs of saturation have been felt as early as the 1850s.

The situation had forced the authorities of the time to create six other cemeteries located in the little crown, and properties of the capital: in the Seine-Saint-Denis (La Chapelle, Saint-Ouen, Pantin), in the Val-deMarne (in Ivry, Thiais) and Hauts-de-Seine, france (Bagneux).

“A few years ago again, it had been possibly waiting lists for Paris, but now, it is no longer possible”, adds Mr. Kawnik, according to which “the only possibility would be to have +privileges+, or fall back on one of the six cemeteries located outside of Paris” and all properties in the City.

In 2017, 8.098 burials took place in the parisian cemetery (3.150 in intra-muros and 4.948 extra-muros), and 171 concessions have been granted in the capital for more than 5,000 applications, according to data from the Paris city hall.

“The City guarantees all of the Parisians that they will be able to acquire a tomb even if it is not always possible to choose the cemetery,” responds the assistant to the mayor of Paris in charge of the funeral, Penelope Komitès.

To solve the problem, the city council is trying to guarantee “as much as possible” of the “concessions in cemeteries located intra-muros”, she adds.

However, the award of new concessions is difficult as the criteria are numerous (concession-old more than 30 years, no burial for the past 10 years, a state of abandonment and manifest more dependents).

Final solution scope by the town council: the sale of the concession for a limited period of time (10, 30 or 50 years), and not perpetual, as has long been the case.

Beyond the lack of places, the prices are prohibitive: if in Paris, a perpetual concession of 2 m2 cost of 16,000 euros, in the cemetery of Thiais, she is four times less expensive (about 4000 euros).

Vexed, Michel Kawnik, did not budge: “The graveyard intra-muros paris is reserved for the “haves”.

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Association Française d'Information Funéraire