By your side as you say goodbye and remember

Although one of the most difficult times of our lives, losing someone we love means that we will need to arrange a ceremony that helps us, and all who gather, to say our farewells and to celebrate our memories. It would be my privilege to assist you at this difficult time. Together we can create a ceremony that is true to the person whose passing we mark and whose life we celebrate. This can be either as the funeral itself or as a separate Life Celebration ceremony.

I can help you with ideas, and will create a ceremony for you based on traditional and contemporary sources, as well as leading the ceremony through for you. When you are wondering what to do next, I can help.

Call me direct on +44 (0)7967 327230 or +33 (0)

“Love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation” 

― Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet



What do I do first?

When a family member dies in France, you should first contact the local doctor to certify the death and issue a medical certificate of death (certificat de décès). If the person has died in hospital, the hospital will do this. 


You'll need to contact an undertaker (Pompes Funèbres) who will take care of the body and make arrangements for a funeral. If you would like me to officiate, you should tell them straight away - and before you agree a time and date. However, note that French Law requires that a funeral take place within a minimum of 24 hours and a maximum of six days (Sundays and bank holidays are not counted), although this may be extended by the Prefet in exceptional circumstances.


The death must be reported to the local Mairie within 24 hours. A relative or formally appointed representative usually registers the death. This can also be carried out by undertakers. See more here

I'd like someone to create and lead a funeral ceremony in English - can you help?

Yes, I can. I live in France and have years of experience of creating and taking funeral ceremonies. I will work with you to design the sort of ceremony that is a fitting tribute to the person you have lost. I am able to lead an English speaking  ceremony at a crematorium for you. If you'd like the ceremony to be in French also, I'm happy to work alongside a translator of your choosing - and would send all the words through for prior translation.

How will we connect with you to discuss our plans?

Initially, simply call me - whenever - and we can arrange for me to visit you. There is always Skype and the phone too - and this becomes really useful as we move nearer the day and you want to run something by me.

Can you write and give the eulogy?

A eulogy is a spoken tribute to a person who has died, and getting this right is very important. I'll visit you and carefully listen to you as you tell me about this person.  Although I may not have known the person it would be my privilege to give their eulogy and many people find it helpful to not have to worry about a family member or friend having this responsibility.

What elements can we include in a funeral ceremony?

Anything you like - as long as it suits you, and is being kind and respectful to others. Traditional elements - readings, poetry, music etc are all possible, but so are other elements.

Is there anything we MUST include?

No. The ceremony is yours, needs to be true to the person we are remembering and helpful to guests. 

Can we have a prayer?

Yes, of course. I'm more than willing to advise you on this, help you create a prayer, and to lead this. 

Do we have to have a prayer, or mention God?

No. The service needs to be true to you as a family and to the memory of the person, so the choice is entirely up to you. As a person with an open spirituality, I'm happy to follow your lead.

What is a Life Celebration and how is it different to a funeral?

Whilst every funeral needs to celebrate the life a person has lived, a Life Celebration is a separate occasion - sometimes quite a while after a person has died. It is longer than a funeral ceremony and can contain more elements. Being some time after a funeral, there is often a sense of less grief and it becomes a healing occasion when smiles and laughter can play their part on our journey towards acceptance. I don't need to have taken the funeral to take the Life Celebration.

Are you available for funerals in the UK?

Not until November 2019 as I currently live in France.

A different question?

Get in touch. I'll be happy to talk with you.

Useful websites

Funeral directors ranked according to user reviews.

Crowdfunding site for funerals

British government pages

General useful information

List of French undertakers

©2019 Piers Lane Celebrant