The Catacombs of Paris are a network of underground tunnels located beneath the city of Paris.
The Catacombs of Paris were created in the 18th century to house the remains of millions of Parisians who were buried in the city’s overcrowded cemeteries.
Touristic visit to the catacombs
The catacombs cover approximately 300 km of tunnels, but only a few parts are open to the public. The current tourist site is located beneath the Denfert-Rochereau and Raspail streets, in the 14th arrondissement of Paris.
The tourist route is arranged over about 2 km and includes approximately 1.7 km of galleries to visit. Visitors descend a staircase of 130 steps to access the underground necropolis.
The visitable part of the Catacombs is actually the ossuary section. Bones from several million people are piled up to form walls of skulls and leg bones, pillars, arches and columns. The bones are artistically and meticulously arranged, creating a unique atmosphere.
The visitor route is punctuated by several rooms, which were once limestone quarries where the bones were deposited. Among these rooms is the famous “Rotonde,” a massive chamber where a column of skulls and leg bones rises up to the ceiling.
In addition to the visit, it is also possible to learn about the history of the Catacombs in the museum area, where explanatory panels, maps, and historical objects are displayed.
However, it is important to note that the visit of the Catacombs can be challenging for some people due to the presence of stairs, narrow passages, and darkness. Additionally, the catacombs are often cool and damp, so it is recommended to dress warmly and wear comfortable shoes.
Finally, it should be noted that the visit of the Catacombs is regulated and supervised. Visitors must follow a defined route, respect safety and conservation instructions, and not touch or take any bones or objects from the site.
Typical visit to the catacombs of Paris
A typical visit to the Catacombs of Paris can be described as follows:
- Arrival at the site: The Catacombs are located at 1 Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, 75014 Paris. Visitors can access it by public transport (metro, bus, RER) or by car.
- Purchase of tickets: Visitors must purchase their entrance tickets at the ticket office. Opening hours and ticket prices may vary depending on the season and time of year.
- Wait in line: The Catacombs are very popular, and there may be a long line to access them. Visitors should be prepared to wait.
- Descend the staircase: Visitors descend a spiral staircase of 130 steps to access the Catacombs.
- Visit the galleries: Once downstairs, visitors enter a transition corridor where they can read information about the history of the Catacombs. They then begin the visit of the galleries, which lasts approximately 45 minutes to an hour.
- Discover the bones: During the visit, visitors can admire the bones of millions of Parisians stacked along the walls, forming walls of skulls, femurs, and tibias, as well as pillars and columns.
- Visit the rooms: The visit also includes the discovery of several rooms, including the Rotonde, which houses a column of skulls and tibias that rises up to the vault.
- Exit: At the end of the visit, visitors climb a staircase to return to the surface.
It is important to note that visits are guided, and visitors must follow a defined route. Additionally, safety and conservation instructions must be followed at all times, and it is forbidden to touch the bones or take any objects from the site.
Location : 1 Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy 75014 Paris
Official website : https://www.catacombes.paris.fr