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France, Dead pricey: Paris only has graves for the rich

Par Kim Willsher - 3 mn

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Grave situation Père Lachaise cemetery GETTY

40% Rise in cost of a grave in Paris since 2008

14 Cemeteries that have up to 97% of plots sold

Even the dead, it seems, cannot escape the rocketing property prices of Paris. A shortage of burial plots means the wealthy are being asked to stump up as much as €15,528 ($18,000) for a place in a city cemetery while the poor are being shipped out to the banlieues. Even fame and wealth, however, cannot guarantee a final resting place in one of Paris’s 14 inner-city cemeteries, such as Père Lachaise, where Chopin, Balzac, Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf and Jim Morrison are interred.

There are about 14,000 deaths in Paris every year, with 5,000 requests to be buried at city cemeteries. But authorities say there are now only 150 paid-for places available a year. The rest must make alternative arrangements unless they wish to be cremated or already have a family tomb.

A report by Cour des Comptes , the state auditors, this month declared Paris ceme...

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