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 VisitFee: Yes
Open Now: NoHours This Week:
- Monday: Closed
- Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
- Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
- Thursday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
- Friday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
- Saturday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
- Sunday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Address: 1 Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, 75014 Paris, France
Phone: 01 43 22 47 63
Official Website: Catacombs of Paris
|Metro / RER Line||Nearest Station||Walking Time|
|M4, M6, RER-B||Denfert-Rochereau||1 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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Ratedout of 5
Worth visiting if you want to do something different in Paris. Long queue and a bit pricey for what they offer but definitely a must if you want a bit of eerie in your trip.
David - - 4 hours ago
This was so cool! I love bones, and the body. This was 10€ for me, and 12€ for my boyfriend. It was worth it. Just don't try taking bones. You will get arrested.
Jamey Campbell - 10 days ago
Excellent but strange place. Lots and lots of bones. Escape from Paris and enter the other world. Underground bone yard with Art.
Muttley Dawg - 11 days ago
If possible pre book tickets to skip the queue, otherwise be prepared to wait for 2 hours in the queue. And it takes about an hour to cover the place. Audio guide is recommended. At the end there are about 80 stairs to climb
pradeep kumar - 1 month ago
Definitely recommend priority tickets to skip the queue as the lines are ridiculously long and given this time of year, you don't want to be waiting for 2hrs in the cold! Really enjoyed the tour, crazy to think of there being skeletons & bones of millions of people buried under the city. Rich in history, a bit eerie but certainly worth the visit. Only issue is that if you can't walk up and down 100+ steep stairs then you won't be accommodated.
Jessica Matacz - 3 months ago