Catacombs of Paris

Inspite of being somewhat morbid, the Catacombs are a burial plot with a rich and fascinating history and draw crowds of visitors year round

Passage into the Catacombs of Paris
Passage into the Catacombs of Paris cc licensed photo by CHRISTOPHER MACSURAK

The Catacombs of France is a tourist attraction for those who like to add a little spookiness to their vacation activities. The catacombs are literally a burial plot of astronomic proportions. However, they are a burial plot with a rich and fascinating history.

Before Christianity came along, it was common practice to bury the dead outside the city walls. Christianity dictated that the dead should be buried in consecrated ground around churches and this time it was difficult to do so since the areas around the churches were already well built up and there was no space to put in large cemeteries. Those that were available soon became overcrowded and a mass burial plot was opened near the St. Opportune church. This burial plot caused a lot of sanitation problems but was still used even when the ground was saturated with human remains.

Eventually the inner city cemeteries were closed and new ones were opened outside the city limits. Even the long abandoned stone quarries outside the city were pressed into use as burial places. The transfer of the dead to these quarries started in 1786 and finished in 1788. The catacombs hold the remains of around six million people. Land was bought from a local property named "La maison de la Tombe Issoire" and many sets of bones were deposited in the underground caverns in this area along with crosses and urns and other memorabilia.

When you visit the catacombs you will travel down a staircase and then through a long tunnel to find yourself faced with a stone portal inscribed with the words Arrete! C'est ici l'empire de la Mort ('Halt! This is the Empire of the Dead'). It is beyond this stone portal that the tour truly begins. There are halls and walls of carefully arranged bones. Some of the bone arrangements are actually really artistic although they are macabre.

If you plan to visit the Catacombs then you will need to know that the site limits visitors to 200 at one time. There are also no toilets or cloakrooms and it is also good to keep in mind that it will be cooler in the underground passages. It is vital that children who are younger than 14 years of age are accompanied by at least one adult and the parents of young children are advised against bringing their children into the catacombs. If you are not very mobile then you may also want to consider other activities as there are many steps to go up and down. You do not need much time for the actual tour as it is only 2km long (around 45 min) but the queues can get rather long and entries can be stopped to ensure the 200 visitor limit is adhered to.

Nearby attractions: Rue Mouffetard Market

Facts For Your Visit

Fee: Yes

Currently Closed

Hours This Week:
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 8:30 PM
  • Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 8:30 PM
  • Thursday: 10:00 AM – 8:30 PM
  • Friday: 10:00 AM – 8:30 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 8:30 PM
  • Sunday: 10:00 AM – 8:30 PM

Address: 1 Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, 75014 Paris, France

Phone: 01 43 22 47 63

Official Website: Catacombs of Paris

Directions

Metro / RER Line Nearest Station Walking Time
M4, M6, RER-BDenfert-Rochereau1 minute

How to get to Catacombs of Paris by Metro / RER

By Metro or RER: exit at Denfert-Rochereau‎ Station and look for the small green building (and probably a queue) directly across the street from the station.

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Reviews

Rated 3.9 out of 5Catacombs of Paris Star Rating

3 Star Rating I went at 6:50 PM on October 19, 2018. I was able to get in by 7:15 PM so I barely made the cutoff time which is at 7:30 PM. Price is 13 euros for people over 27 and 11 euros for people under. Babies are free I think? So to start off, most of the tunnel that tourists gets to see is pretty much a.. stone tunnel. You'll eventually get to the skeletons and skulls, but it wasn't really much. To be honest, it did feel artificial especially with a heart shaped out using skulls and the pretty skeletons laid out for us to see. I know these are probably real and there are endless tunnels that goes roughly 200 mile's worth; something you wont see here. There is also an unused train track that has a entrance in the wall that can lead you to the more deep parts of the area. I wouldn't recommend it, but that's where it would feel more creepy/fun. It was a nice short experience, though. There is also a restroom at the way end of the catacombs once you make your wake up the stairs and into the gift shop, in case some are worried about that.

Tom P - 1 day ago

5 Star Rating I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. There is a lot of walking and many stairs to climb so be prepared! Photography within is not allowed, be respectful. We booked ahead of time which was slightly more expensive, however if you come before they open you should be fine. From what I can recall, only a limited amount of people are allowed in at one time.

Kyle Mostert - 12 days ago

5 Star Rating My wife and I had a great time seeing the catacombs. You walk for a bit without seeing anything and then they suddenly appear. I would definitely make an appointment to see this since we did not have one and it took around 2 hours before we got to step inside. Other than that it was very awesome and interesting to see!

Kevin McCarter-Larkin - 12 days ago

5 Star Rating I made the mistake of not getting my tickets ahead of time. They greatly limit how many people they let in and once. And even during off season and late in the day there was still a very long wait. With that said I loved it. It’s a good half mile walk under the streets of Paris till you get to see the good stuff, but it’s a fun adventure that pays off at the end

Baron Migs - 13 days ago

5 Star Rating I had a fantastic experience here...10 minutes in line. Pretty much had the whole place to myself. Why would you buy tickets 3 months in advance for something that’s open everyday then not pay for the skip the line. I love it when people like you are let down. Easy 5 out of 5 for this in terms of experience and value.

J C - 1 month ago

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