Catacombs Paris

Catacombs Paris : visit the bones beneath the streets

The catacombs of Paris are a fascinating tourist place to visit!

When someone says “the catacombs Paris”, I immediately think of many intertwining tunnels below ground level, snaking their way through many districts [arrondissements]. I visualise caverns or rooms filled with skulls and bones of the dearly departed from centuries ago …

Not your cup of tea? :-) That’s ok – click here to go read about other things to do in Paris.

If you’re not put off, read on …

The catacombs of Paris are actually a network of subterranean [that means ‘below ground level’] pathways, tunnels and rooms. These were originally Roman-era limestone quarries and were converted into a mass tomb towards the end of the 18th century.

Most widely known as “the catacombs”, they are also known as “les carrières de Paris” and “the quarries of Paris.”

The official tours pass through the limestone quarries in the 14th district [arrondissement], and you may be surprised to discover there are more quarries in the 5th, 6th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th arrondissements [districts].

Did you know THIS about the Catacombs in Paris?

Did you know Victor Hugo used his knowledge about the catacomb tunnel system in his book, “Les Misérables”?

Did you know that in the book, “Interview with the Vampire”, vampires are residents of the catacombs in Paris?

Did you know there is a relatively recent film called “Catacombs” which is set in the Paris catacombs, even though there was no permission granted for the filming. This movie has both the singer Pnk and the actress Shannyn Sossamon as cast members.

And one last movie reference, inthe “Tomb Raider III” expansion, “The Lost Artifact”, Lara Croft explores a hidden area deep within the catacombs of Paris.

I bet you didn’t realise how widely referenced the catacombs in Paris are – neither did I! :-)

How to get to the Catacombs

Location: Metro Denfert-Rochereau
Open: Tue-Fri 2-16, Sat-Sun 9-11 14-16
Fee: Adults 33 FF, Children 22 FF.

Quick History of the Catacombs

In 60 B.C. the first tunnels were built as roman quarries.

On 4th April, 1777, an Inspection Générale des Carrières was created to survey the quarries of Paris, and to fortify the foundation to prevent fontis (collapses.

In 1785, 350 of the underground rock quarries were converted into subterranean mass graves.

On 19th June, 1994 the catacombs were finally opened to the public, and have been a source of fascination ever since.

Ready to come check out the catacombs of Paris? It’ll be a visit you’ll never forget!