Cremation in France

Sorry to sound morbid, but we need to have some answers on this subject.

Recently a friend of mine died here, and he wished to be cremated here in France. This was done, and his ashes interred in a local cemetery - much to the sorrow of his widow, who would have liked to scatter them in the garden of their home, here in France. The widow does not speak French, and was told that now cremation urns are not allowed to be given to the widow etc, nor are they allowed to be even kept in a home, nor can the ashes scattered anywhere - they have to be interred in a local cemetery. In other words the bereaved relative(s), nor the deceased have a say in the matter as to where ashes are scattered.

I have just read in “France Dimanche” of 11th February 2011 that a very old friend of Brigitte Bardot died, was cremated, and according to her wishes, her ashes scattered on the Mediterranean by her close friends.

Well, this does pose a question for all of who wish to be cremated here in France.

What are we allowed to do with our cremated remains ?

@Rosie, did not see the date of original comment; however, there may be others who are interested. No need to create another post. Click "Stop Responding" at top of this screen if you do not want further emails, please.

Think I will visit the Mairie.

Thank you Terry and David for your responses. Nothing is simple and if I can reduce the complications before they occur, it will help others.

Thank you all for your comments. I actually wrote the original comment over a year ago, so please do not comment further. i actually found out all I wanted to learn. thank you all.

It depends as always on what you want. I imagine it can be astronomical. At my mother-in-law's specific request she had the simplest and cheapest funeral available and it cost 2,800 Euros. A priest, I was told, would cost us 200 Euros more, for example. This was in rural Aveyron and funeral homes are likely to charge more in the big city. Had the crematorium not been two-and-a-half hours drive from the funeral home (the nearest believe it or not) it would undoubtedly have cost less.

As to the law, this is a good starting place

@David. What is the nightmare you are dealing with now? Not meant to be a personal question. Perhaps email me at

@David Gay. Where can I find "the law" which you are referring, please?

I understand you must request cremation in writing (English or French).

Do you know an average cost? Thanks again in advance.

Mike (Dax, 40)

We have just gone through this with my mother-in-law who was cremated a month ago and we definitely had the option of taking her ashes to scatter elsewhere. But we could not keep the urn at home (not that we wanted to). We opted to have them scattered in the section of the local cemetery set aside for this. No doubt we could have taken them to scatter where she was born if we'd wanted to or if she had asked us to do that but I have a niggling memory that you can't just go and scatter ashes anywhere you like. You have to get the inevitable bit of paper with the right stamp on it. I didn't check this out as it wasn't relevant and I suspect people just go ahead and do it without asking anyone for permission.

@David I sympathise re the legal nightmare. Been there, still doing that!

The law is that the disposal of the body should take place no later than 6 days after death. Only Muslims and Jews have burial practices which require burial in 24 hours. France is not a Catholic country it is a republic in which the state plays no part in religious order and religion plays no part in the organization of the state but in which many citizens are Catholic.

France is a catholic country..conservative thought...burial is the common french funeral process...but noe cremation is also running...beacuse according to french should bury within 24 hour after death and land will be your own...that is why we are selecting cremation process...for more read... Keepsake Urns

thank you David for your reply.
I shall now pass this information onto my friend.

Hi. My aunt died very recently in Menton - am dealing with all the legal nightmare now- my sisters scattered her ashes in the Med, as per her request. I have just checked the paperwork and the options offered by the crematorium (in Nice) were to disperse the ashes in the crematoriums “garden of memory”, to bury the ashes under a ‘funeral monument’, or dispersed in the open air in the “commune de naissance” - i.e. where the person was born. In my Aunt’s case the urn was signed for by my sister, stating it was being taken back to the Uk for “dispersion en pleine nature”. Obviously that isn’t what they did, but there you go - there certainly is no requirement to leave the urn at the crematorium. By the way this is only 10 days ago, so is up to date. Hope that helps.