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Visiting The Catacombs of Paris + Catacomb Tour Photos

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Visiting The Catacombs of Paris + Catacomb Tour Photos

The creepiest place in all of Paris is only partially accessible in a legal fashion – the Catacombs of Paris. The catacombs are the underground of Paris, housing some 6 million bones and skulls dating as far back as the 18th century. With only a small section open for public tours, the rest of the catacombs are illegal to visit (for safety reasons mainly), but if you want to experience the underground of Paris and take a tour of the catacombs, you can!

“Arrête, c’est ici l’empire de la mort!” (Stop! This is the empire of death!)

c'est ici l'empire de la mort

As you enter the catacombs of Paris, you will walk  under a doorway with the above inscription. It’s terrifying. I will not lie to you, as we went down the spiral stairs after purchasing our tickets, I started to feel very nervous. The stairs themselves are a bit dizzying, and if you’ve read articles/watched videos/seen “As Above So Below”, you know what’s coming. You can’t stop going down though. Speaking of “As Above So Below”, this movie was almost entirely shot IN the real catacombs beneath Paris, so what you’re seeing in that film are some of the areas you cannot access on your own. It’s a good psychological thriller if you are into those.

These are the stairs right after ticket purchasing. Down, down, down you’ll go into an area that’s used for exhibitions and when we went, had some interesting history on the city and the catacombs.

stairs to go down to the Paris catacombs

Descending into the catacombs

catacombs of Paris are creepy

I’m really not sure how some can take cute selfies and group photos while they walk through the catacombs. You can clearly see how uneasy and freaked out I was! Ha! For anyone wondering, there is no smell down there. It smells of earth. In the winter, Paris is rainy, so we could hear dripping water and the occasional small puddle, and it just smelled earthy. There is electricity in this public touring section of just over a mile of the catacomb tunnels, and they do have lights down there.

When you tour the catacombs you can take a guide, although it’s not required. You can also purchase an audio guide if you’d like, but we decided to just walk it.

It’s chilly down there, so when you go be prepared for a temperature right around 57° F.

If you want to learn more about visiting the catacombs, including when to visit and the price of tickets, visit the official website. You can also book a guided tour through Tours4Fun.

You can get to the catacombs easily, we took the metro which took us right there in the 14th.

Catacombes de Paris (Catacombs of Paris)
1, avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy (place Denfert-Rochereau)

skulls in the shape of a heart catacombs

sign in catacombs

1787 catacombs

So, why are there catacombs in the first place? Simple – the cemeteries became overcrowded and they ran out of room for bodies! So underneath the city, they went! A quick read about the history of the catacombs can be found here. You can also find other websites and books if you want more in-depth history.

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Monday 16th of September 2019

Nice post!! We visited the catacombs in November. We paid for the audio guide and boy do they need to update that! It was totally off at some points. The numbers on the wall were not visible ---or maybe they just fell off and they didn't put them back up. We missed a few numbers. So I guess it's good that you didn't pay for the guide. You didn't miss out on too much. It would probably be a nice attraction overall if they updated the audioguide! :)

SuAnn Bird

Sunday 25th of August 2019

I took a small flashlight with me down there when we visited. I didn’t like the idea of being underground if the power went out. Ha ha. Interestingly though, you can’t see much other that what is lit right on the sides of the walkways, so we used the flashlight to look further back. There are sections that have bones going further back than we could even see with the light. It really put it into perspective just how many people are down there!

Mandi Welbaum

Monday 26th of August 2019

We did this too with the flashlights on our phone. I should add that to the post, it's something you might not think of doing but WOW! It helps that natural curiosity you have when you're down there