Paul Elter was born in Capellen on 12 December 1855, and earned his doctorate in law on 11 November 1879. He was sworn in as a lawyer in 1879, and became an avoué in 1883. It was as President of the Gymnastics Society (Société Gymnastique) as of 1889, however, that he left his mark on Luxembourg City society. This group sought to promote sports and culture in Luxembourg. In his speeches, he conveyed his immense respect for the Luxembourg poets Michel Lentz and Edmond de la Fontaine, whom he knew personally. Paul Elter closed his speech at Edmond de la Fontaine's funeral (1891) by saying that he would like to see a national monument dedicated to la Fontaine. In 1893, Elter chaired the committee in charge of erecting that monument, and eventually became Chairman of the Central Committee, which had agreed to place a joint monument to Edmond de la Fontaine and Michel Lentz on Place d'Armes (Square Jan Palach).

Paul Elter died unexpectedly in Luxembourg on 19 May 1917. News of his death was only circulated after his burial. The grave monument, which was restored by the City in 2014, also commemorates his mother, Thècle de Marie (1835–1914), who was the daughter of City Mayor Gabriel de Marie. She had married Jean-François Elter, doctor of law and judge on the Diekirch district court from 1881 onwards. The couple had five children, three of whom died at an early age. This may be the reason for the sculpture of an infant at the foot of the cross on the monument.