The ‘City of light’ has his own secrets, beneath all the glamour, lies a dark subterranean world that holds the remains of 6 million inhabitants.
There’s something about old cemeteries and other kinds of burial sites that appeals to many tourists and locals. Along this line, it’s not surprising that Paris Catacombs are one of the city’s popular attractions.
The Paris catacombs hold a new world, old caves, quarries and tunnels lined with the bones of the dead ones.
Bubu and myself decided to take a look for the first time (even though I was so scared haha). We bought the tickets in advance because if not is almost impossible. Also, we decided to take the audio to know more about this creepy place.
They explained us that it was only after the second half of the XVIII century that the former limestone mined were transformed into burial places.
Why did this happen? Well, in that century the Parisian cementeries began to get overpopulated, giving rise to improper burials, open graves and unearthed corpses… Can you imagine that?
It was after a long period of rain, when Les Innocents (largest cemetery in Paris) collapsed and the government was forced to take action. No one wants to live with bones all over the city!
Which was the solution? The former Tombe-Issoire were turned into the Paris catacombs and during two years all the bones from Les Innocents were transferred over there. Later on, the practice of burying the newly dead directly on the Catacombs began after the French Revolution.
In 1867, the Paris’ most macabre sight was open to the public. This scary passage has over 300 kilometers and today you can only access to a small fraction of this network, because since 1955 it has been illegal to go further.
Even though, the Cataphiles, Parisian urban explorers, have restored some spaces and turned them into creative places. For example, the Catacombs were hiding an amphitheater with a cinema screen, projection equipment and seats. Can you dare go in?
What to expect in a Paris catacombs tour?
The walk route is around 2km and the visit takes around 45 mins. First, you are going to descend 130 steps and at the end you’ll climb 83 steps more. So, if you really hate exercise, avoid this tour!
Tour price in English: 4,50€
If you are planning to go without a tour, the audio guide can only be in French, English and Spanish.
Audio guide price: 5€
Tip: sturdy shoes are essential and also it’s underground so it can get chilly.
For us, the Catacomb is a worthwhile site to add to your list of must-sees in Paris.
Address: 1 Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, 75014 Paris
Metro: Denfert-Rochereau (RER B, M4, M6)
Web: Les Catacombes
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