Catacombs of Paris Catacombs of Paris

Catacombs of Paris: The World of the Dead

Ah, Paris. The moment you enter the country, you can’t catch a break and are left aw-struck by this magnificent European city, which has a lot of things to offer: an intimate vibe for honeymooners, a number of iconic monuments, gorgeous flower gardens, Michelin-starred restaurants, and the glum catacombs of Paris. The first thing to add to your bucket list should be the catacombs of Paris. They are arguably one of the most incredible and intriguing attractions in the city.

Have you ever wondered what lurks deep beneath city streets? You might see hundreds of Parisians and visitors strolling directly above a network of hidden underground passageways home to 6 million skeletons.

Parisian catacombs hold a record of history, with walls covered in skulls and remains of the dead all over. There are around 280-321 km of passageways at a depth of 20 m beneath the surface, of which only a small section is offered to the public for exploration. The destination should be high on your list of intriguing locations to see in Paris.

A visit to the city will allow you to get to know it better as well as give you a unique opportunity to observe the beauty in the disarray. Let’s find the reason to explore this terrifying yet historic marvel:

Catacombs of Paris
– Sources: Pixabay

1. Biggest Necropolis Beneath the Ground

As the catacombs of Paris are the true hidden gems of Paris, the whole excursion is a solo tour that allows spectators like me and you to explore at our own wish. Once you step inside, you’ll find yourself in a long series of tunnels with directions and information boards teaching you the history of the destination. It’s a place full of loculi and possesses a historical and religious significance.

2. You Will be AweStruck

Aren’t you curious about its history? In early January 1815, the mortal remains of Queen Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI were said to be reburied at the Basilica of St Denis. They were discovered in the 19th century during the monarchy’s rehabilitation.

3. So Many Bones

As you navigate around a network of passageways, neatly organized skeletons are waiting to greet you. Most typically, you will notice that the interior walls are built of thigh bones capped with human skulls. Several bones are packed more precariously behind these well-arranged fences.

You’ll be amazed at how beautifully the bones may be arranged. The rhymes and hymns etched into the symbols will be more easily understood if you bring a guide.

4. What Transpired the Bones to be Here?

To summarize a long story in brief for you, there was a severe influx of deceased individuals in Paris in the late 18th century. One particular spot stands out: the Holy Innocents Cemetery, located in the center of the city.

Throughout the Middle Ages, nearly all of Parisians’ corpses have been buried here, explaining the steady packing over time.

During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, insufficient space for corpses in the city became a serious problem in other graves. The remains had to seek a new home since the overflow posed potential hazards to the surrounding region.

All About Its History and Origin: A Glum Story

It feels incomplete without knowing the history and origins of the Catacombs of Paris. It started in the 18th century when Paris was plagued by serious public health issues that resulted in the demise of les innocents.

The city was expanding, and the cemeteries started quickly filling up, resulting in sanitary challenges for the neighbouring areas.

Paris officials needed to reduce this congestion and boost the city’s overall wellness. They discovered a rapid answer in the Tombe-Issoire quarry, a navigable collection of tunnels developed in the Roman era.

Catacombs of Paris
– Source: Pixabay

The purge of tombs surrounding Paris began in 1785, and bones were carried into tunnels. The subsurface location was dedicated as the Paris Municipal Ossuary—a site for the collection of human remains—on April 7, 1786.

Following that point, the location has been known as the “Catacombs,” which alludes to the earlier Roman burial grounds with corridors.

The remains of innumerable individuals were relocated to their ultimate burial site in the catacombs over the course of 12 years. The initial evacuations began at Paris’s biggest cemetery.

The labour-intensive operation of relocating the bones involved diggers, cleaners, vehicles, priests, and animals. In order to avoid offending the surrounding communities, the projects had to be completed discreetly at night.

Things to Remember Before Visiting the Catacombs

  • The catacombs of Paris are dedicated to allowing access to as many people as possible. Nevertheless, due to subsurface limits, they are inaccessible to people in wheelchairs and those who require step-free access.
  • It is strictly prohibited to go inside the catacombs of Paris with luggage, a big bag, or a helmet to preserve the privacy and conservation of the ossuary. Bags no bigger than 40x30x20 cm are permitted. They have to be held in front of you or at the side of you.
Catacombs of Paris
– Source: Pixabay
  • Photos for personal use are permitted; however, you are prohibited from using a tripod or other bulky items that may interfere with other guests.
  • You are permitted to use a flash without bothering other guests. There is also a giant cinema screen further in, so don’t forget to explore it as well.
  • The journey through the area accessible to the public is one mile long. The catacombs of Paris are said to be 320 kilometers (199 miles) long, but only a small section is open for you to discover, and it requires a minimum of 45 minutes to go through them, so pack shoes that are comfortable.
  • Carry anything warm because the average temperature in the catacombs is fourteen degrees Celsius. Of course, you are not permitted to make contact with the bones, which are the delicate remnants of countless Parisians.
  • You may travel to the Denfert-Rochereau station in the metro by taking metro lines 4 or 6. The Paris Catacombs are just a few minutes from the metro exit. The code for the catacombs of Paris is 75014 Paris on the left bank; you may also take a cab if it fits your budget.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How many people died in the Paris catacombs?

There are currently almost six million human bones in the catacombs. Throughout the French Revolution, the French continued burying the new deceased in the catacombs, but the ritual was discontinued after 1860.

2. Are the skulls in the catacombs real?

The quarrymen started covering the walls with femoral bones accented with skulls at the end of the 18th century and continued into the 19th century, which served as the foundation for the majority of the exhibits seen by tourists now.

3. Can you buy a ticket to Catacombs Paris?

For a tour of the Paris catacombs, you can purchase tickets straight away at the entrance or via the internet through their website. This second alternative is preferable because buying them in advance avoids enormous crowds.

End Note

C’est Ici L’empire De La! There’s much more to the city of love than dazzling towers, museums, delectable delicacies, and breathtaking monuments. There are treasures beneath the city to be discovered that many tourists have ignored for far too many years, just like this largest cemetery, which police discovered very later on.

It is advisable to carry a map, or as they say, ‘carte de Paris’ around to avoid being lost; it will come in handy in case you cannot speak French. You can plan your itinerary through Du Site Paris musée; also, do not forget to observe the logo Du Site Paris!

This is about an eerie past that often goes unnoticed as people in a hurry commute to work and go on their daily lives spanning city limits, but a very intriguing world lies just beneath them.

According to travellers, these underground passageways are known as the catacombs of Paris, where there is usually a huge line of people who want to visit the eerie world trapped underneath.

To avoid long lines, make your reservation online. If you want to make your trip fun and memorable, get ready to explore les catacombes de Paris in underground Paris. But keep in mind that this is not for the faint-hearted, and we warned you about what lies beyond through l’empire de la mort. Have fun!

Last Updated on April 6, 2024 by Anshikasaxena11


  1. I was moved by the amount of knowledge this article holds on the catacombs of Paris.
    Be it the History or the steps to get a ticket today, be it the reasons for formation or the visiting rules today,
    this has got ’em all in a beautifully explained manner.

  2. This article was very insightful and has given me new insights on the catacombs of Paris. I never knew that there was an underground world of corridors below Paris. I also didn’t know that the history of it was that it was made by the Romans for some Limestone.

  3. I really like learning about interesting things like the Catacombs of Paris. The article talks about the history and mysteries underground in the city. It explains that the Catacombs used to be a place for bones and now have cool art. After reading, I want to know more about this hidden place and why it’s important to culture.

  4. A thorough guide to the Catacombs of Paris! The article paints a vivid picture of this unique and eerie attraction, emphasizing its historical significance and the meticulous organization of bones. Details on its origin, the relocation of remains, and the city’s health challenges add depth to the narrative. Practical tips for visitors enhance the reader’s understanding and preparation for the experience. Overall, it’s a comprehensive exploration of a lesser-known aspect of Paris.

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