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The Catacombs

1, Place Denfert-Rochereau. Metro : Denfert-Rochereau. Open :  11am-4pm.

catacombs catacombes

The Catacombs of Paris offer to visitors a spine-chilling trip into the land of phantoms. Popular amongst those searching out a more intense attraction these underground tunnels are lined with the bones of thousands of Paris’ former residents, the story of Paris literally built into the walls. Located just off the Place Denfert-Rochereau the entrance to the Catacombs can be found on the east side of Avenue du Géneral Leclerc. Be prepared though, the Catacombs are humid and muddy, don’t wear your best shoes! Relocation of the bones to the Catacombs began in 1785, when overflowing Parisian cemeteries, particularly the Cimitière des Halles, left authorities with no choice but to act, unfortunate gravediggers taking 15 months to complete the task. The collection of bones has since inspired many ghoulish events within the Catacombs, the Count of Artois, future Charles X, organised fantasy nighttime parties here, lit only by torches it was transformed into hell on earth. During WWII members of the resistance sought an uneasy refuge in the two kilometres of tunnels to avoid the Nazis. A sign at their entrance perhaps best sums up the character of the Catacombs: “Here begins the Empire of the Dead!”

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