Who is not buried in Paris’ famed Pere Lachaise cemetery?

Jim Morrison.
According to author Gregor Dallas, Morrison's remains were moved to California but no date or reference is given. (1)

Another popular but likely empty grave is that of Abelard and Heloise.

Though an impressive two story monument stands over their tomb and Empress Josephine herself sanctioned the moving of their corpses, it is pretty unlikely that the remains of either the teacher or his younger lover rest as advertised. And it was advertised.

Since the mid-1700’s, various kings banned burials with-in Paris’ city limits as the graveyards were literally bursting. (Today’s there are no cemeteries in the first nine of the city’s twenty arrondissements as they were inside the municipal boundaries at the time. The Les Halles subterranean mall and metro stop used to be the noxiously notorious Les Innocents cemetery which is estimated to have held over 1 million corpses before literally bursting at the seams in 1870. Those remains were then transferred to what is now the popular Catacombs of Paris though some shoppers claim the odor of the underground mall still retains a direct link to its decomposing past.)

Founded just as Napoleon was crowning himself emperor in 1804, Pere Lachaise was more a novel real estate play than consecrated ground. Seeing a need, city administrators in conjunction with real estate developers turned the hill where Pere Lachaise now sits into not just a graveyard but a high-end, tres chic and therefore tres profitable final resting place.

To get the needed cachet, the developers bought the remains of anyone famous they could get their hands on. This included Abelard, a famous teacher in the 12th century Latin Quarter and his landlord’s young but well-educated niece Heloise. In a drama worthy of a prime-time soap opera, Abelard was eventually castrated (as were the two thugs who were later found guilty of the crime), and Heloise went off to write letters from a convent and raise their son.

The lovers were supposedly buried together when Heloise died in 1163, but numerous claims cloud the truth. Abelard’s remains were supposedly taken in secret to a monastery he founded in eastern France and there they rest today according to the monastery. However, in 1804, Empress Josephine had what she thought were the bodies brought to Paris for a new shrine dedicated to their endless love. That honor however was short lived as the developers of Pere Lachaise bought what they presumed to be the lovers’ remains in 1817 and had them moved. This was after the developers had already purchased the corpses of famed writers Moliere and La Fontaine for the grand opening of the cemetery.

Such brazen marketing worked as the cemetery today is a veritable who’s who of Parisian history. The developers relied on more than just dry bones for advertising though. In his 1862 novel Les Miserables, Victor Hugo pulled off an early version of Hollywood’s product placement when he wrote, “To be buried in Pere Lachaise is like having mahogany furniture. Elegance is understood by that.”2

Maybe. To be buried in Pere Lachaise today requires a fair amount of money, living and/or dying in Paris and getting on the extensive waiting list. Or; be famous enough to be bought.

1. Dallas, Gregor. "Metrostop Paris". Hachette: UK. 2008. p. 187.
2. Kelley, Austin. "Earthly Kingdoms". Womenontheirway.com 10/12/2010
. http://www.womenontheirway.com/wyndham-wisdom/planning-your-trip/earthly-kingdoms/