The Catacombs of Paris are an underground ossuary located south of the former city gate in Paris, France.
The Catacombs gather the remainders of approximately six million Parisian, transferred between the end of the 18th century and the middle from the 19th century, progressively of the closing of the cemeteries. Visitors are able to make their way through a maze of tunnels and crypts underneath the city streets where Parisians placed the bones of their dead for almost 30 years.
But as the city grew, cemeteries quickly ran out of space. This lead to improper burial techniques being used, which caused ground water and land near cemeteries to become contaminated, spreading disease. All cemeteries were condemned within the city limits and the bodies laid to rest in the cemetery had to be moved. The piles and piles of bones are shocking. For a time it seemed like there were never-ending tunnels of bones stacked on bone, and all of the areas weren’t even accessible to the public.
We are glad we went down into the Catacombs and visited the dead; the catacombs really is worth your time and the visit. It may be eerie walking around, but there is definitely a strange beauty to it. The skulls and bones were arranged in such an artistic fashion. And, of course, it was interesting to ponder what all of their lives may have been like.
After we exited the Catacombs, it took quite a bit of thinking before we could really speak about the experience. It was even harder to explain the experience to our friends and family back home. It was one of the most unique experiences we had in Paris.
Want to visit?
A typical visit to the Catacombs can last between 45 minutes and 1.5 hours, not including the waiting period outside during peak times. We recommend going early to try to avoid a super long wait. As you are going underground, a light sweater is a great idea as it can become rather chilly and reach a low of 14C.
Are the Catacombs haunted? What do you think?