Make sense of… Alternative funerals in France

Alternative choices for funerals in France are possible – from different types of service to choice of coffin, urn and place of rest. The Connexion explains more...

An increasing number of people are turning towards civil funeral ceremonies.

Religious ceremonies are still the most popular choice but 38% of people – according to a study of 15,000 people who used comparative website Meilleures Pompes Funèbres this year – would prefer a civil service.

In France, burial or cremation must take place within six working days of death unless there are exceptional circumstances, so it is worth knowing the options in advance.

Families can create their own ceremony, ask the funeral parlour to help, or call on one of the few English-speaking ‘celebrants’ in France.

The ceremony can take place at your home, the cemetery, the crematorium or the funeral parlour.

Leslie Mitchell ( is a registered celebrant of the Humanist Society Scotland who lives at Saint-Pardoux, Haute-Vienne.

He said that, after talking to the deceased’s family and friends, he can create a ...

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