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Top sights in Paris
"Stop! This is the Empire of the Dead!" warns the greeting sign at the Catacombs, Paris' ancient tunnel network turned mass tomb. Only parts of it are open to the public, and the rest is rife with Parisian rebellion, romance, and idealism!
18th century Parisian cemeteries were so full that they were spoiling the city's wine and milk! Soon after, six million bodies were transferred to the city's ancient underground quarries.
People have long believed the Catacombs to be haunted. Most accounts can probably be attributed to smugglers making ghastly noises to scare citizens into staying out!
Since the network of underground tunnels is so vast, it's hard to dig deep foundations for new buildings. That's why Paris is counted among the most low-lying capital cities.
The French Resistance used the Catacombs to hide from the Nazis, who struggled to infiltrate them since they didn't have maps. One urban legend tells of a military unit vanishing into thin air!
People often enter the Catacombs illegally to party or paint murals. An entire cinema was even discovered. The electricity had been cut, with a note saying "Don't try to find us!"
If you want to avoid waiting for hours, your best bet is to book your tour in advance and skip the ticket line. Failing that, arriving 30 minutes to an hour before it opens (Tuesdays to Sundays from 10:00AM to 8:00PM) will cut the wait significantly.
A good (legal!) tour of the Catacombs should take two to three hours.
The chances of getting dirty are high, so dress down and wear comfortable shoes. Rest assured that there'll be at least six million people down there looking worse than you do!
- When should I visit?
Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 AM-8:30 PM
Holiday hours may vary
- Is it expensive?
- €10 entry for the Catacombs and the exhibition, which can be combined with entry to the crypt for €15 altogether.
- Will I need a guide?
- It will definitely help. It's worth checking out our best-selling tours.
- How to get there
- Denfert-Rochereau, accessible on metro line 2 as well as RER B, is the nearest station.
- Additional information
*Wear good walking shoes, but fancy clothing is not recommended!
*Last entry is at 7:00PM
What people are saying about Paris Catacombs
myself and my partner pre booked tickets to the catacombs for 12.30pm, we arrived at around 12 and were shocked to see a mile long queue around and down the street. however, that queue was not for us as we has pre booked there was a separate queue with no people there; we were quickly seen by a member of staff that asked to see our tickets and were asked to come back 10 minutes before our slot, we did as asked and went to grab a quick coffee in the McDonald's which was a 2 minute walk up the street. As we retured, the pre booked ticket queue was slightly longer (around 10 people, however this was still nothing compared to the non ticket hold queue).. we waited around 5 minutes, entered the building. After a quick and easy security check, my partner had to quickly finish his drink as no drinks are allowed unless secured with a tight lid and / or in a bag. We collected our audio guides, which we had pre paid for. I highly reccomend this as they give detailed information and are easy.
Paris Catacombs are amazing and a little creepy all at the same time. After awhile down in the dark with all these old bones you start to feel kind of creeped out, start hearing things that aren’t (or are) really there, feel like there are some unfinished spirits stuck down there. That being said I would do it all over again in a heartbeat, you must experience this once in your lifetime. A ton of Paris history and part of what makes the city what it is; quarried out the limestone to build everything, then the city began to sink and there wasn’t anywhere left to bury bodies, cemeteries were overflowing into the river and causing health problems. Solution: relocate the bodies painstakingly one by one to where the empty ground was to be able to tell where each person is buried, plus helped to shore up the city of Paris. Fascinating tour, definitely NOT for the faint of heart and claustrophobic though. Oh, and no elevator so unfortunately not a disabled accessible tour
First of all, we went ahead of the at least 2 hour long ques (!) and got in without even one minute of waiting. The audio guide (a little device that you hold up to your ear) was pretty good. You have basically different number along the way through the catacombs, that tell you a story. It was more a museum of the beauty of the dead, than a place to get frightened. But that was okay and a really different kind of experience. We learned alot about the story behind it and it was worth it imho. Recommended!
We went as a family of 5- kids were all teenagers. The activity itself was Fantastic, erie - but not scary, and interesting - very good with the audio guide- I recommend it. We had the skip the line tickets we purchased, yet we still waited half hour in line, which was disappointing. But the Catacombes themselves were a very great unique one of a kind experience
We enjoyed the catacombs, and the history behind them. We did skip the line which was necessary on the day we went. My one suggestion would be an explanation of how to use the handheld devices. We were able to ask the people in front of us, and they explained how to do it. Also once we were down there I never saw an employee, so no one to answer any questions.