The catacombs of Europe’s major cities have become an iconic tourist attraction. The catacombs of Paris are a perfect example. Millions of visitors discover them every year.
If you’d like to visit the Catacombs in Paris, read the following article. It contains all the important information you need.
Paris Catacombs: an original tour of the underground tombs of Paris
The Catacombs of Paris are an exploration beneath the city’s streets, taking you down into the capital’s dark but fascinating history.
As you walk through the 1.7 km labyrinth, you’ll discover some of the six million bones that were transferred here at the end of the 18th century because of the unhealthy state of Parisian cemeteries.
This labyrinthine network is a silent witness to a bygone era. Its mystical atmosphere and macabre beauty create a truly unique experience.
The eternal calm of these ancient limestone quarries, the dim light dancing over the piles of bones, all contribute to an experience that remains etched in the memory.
What can you see in the Catacombs of Paris?
In the perpetual silence and cool depths of Paris, the Catacombs of Paris offer a surprising spectacle.
Here’s a closer look at what you can see and do on this underground tour.
Entry and descent
As soon as you descend the long spiral staircase, you’re immediately greeted by the sense of mystery that pervades the Catacombs. This 131-step descent is a journey back in time, and sets the mood for the experience that awaits you below.
Le Parcours du Carrier
Before entering the ossuary itself, you walk along the “Parcours du Carrier.” It’s a tribute to the workers who extracted the limestone used to build Paris’s famous monuments. Wall inscriptions and sculptures bear witness to their hard work and dedication.
The Passion Crypt
In the Passion Crypt, the bones are arranged in the shape of a heart, with a cross in the center. It’s a striking sight and one of the most artistic examples of bone arrangement in the Catacombs.
It’s a unique and impressive formation of bones forming an immense pillar, nicknamed the “Barrel.” You can’t help but marvel at the way these bones have been meticulously stacked.
Galleries and Alcoves
As you wander through the galleries, you’ll discover numerous alcoves full of bones, arranged in unique ways. The names of the original Parisian streets are engraved in the stones, giving an idea of the location of the cemeteries from which the bones originate.
Inscriptions and Poems
Along the way, you’ll find inscriptions and poems engraved in stone, some dating back to the 19th century. They add a philosophical depth to your visit, encouraging you to reflect on life, death and the ephemeral.
La Salle de Gilbert
This room is dedicated to François Décure, nicknamed “Gilbert,” a miner who worked in the Catacombs in the 18th century. Here you’ll find his bust carved directly into the stone wall.
How much does admission to the Paris Catacombs cost?
You must reserve your time. If you arrive without a ticket, entry will not be possible.
- 29€ for adults
- 23€ from 18 to 26 years old
- 10€ from 5 to 17 years old.
How long does a visit to the Paris Catacombs last?
The visit is short. On average, visitors spend an hour in the Paris Catacombs.
Where are the Catacombs of Paris located?
The exact address of the Catacombes de Paris is 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, 75014 Paris.
How do I get to the Catacombs of Paris?
For public transport, the nearest metro station is “Denfert-Rochereau,” served by lines 4 and 6 and RER B.
By bus, take lines 36 and 68.
If you are arriving by car, pay parking is available nearby on boulevard Saint-Jacques.
What are the opening hours of the Paris Catacombs?
The Paris Catacombs are open every day except Monday.
Opening hours are from 10:00 to 20:30.
My opinion of the Paris Catacombs: is it a good visit?
When I entered the Catacombs, I immediately felt transported to another world.
The style of the Catacombes de Paris is strange. Making art with real skeletons is surprising. Sure, the atmosphere can seem macabre, with all those bones lined up as far as the eye can see, but I have to say there’s a certain beauty to the vision.
Wandering the long underground corridors, observing the various inscriptions on the walls, discovering rooms like Gilbert’s or the Passion Crypt, made me realize how rich in history and emotion this place is.
The fact that you’re walking among the remains of millions of French people, some of whom may well be my elders, is not something to be taken lightly. For this reason, I think it’s important to do it with dignity, and not to take selfies next to human skulls…
The audio tour is a real plus, as it provides information about the site. Indeed, there are no information panels in the Catacombs.
However, I do have one reservation about the length of the visit. Indeed, the visit to the Catacombs seemed a little short to me, especially considering the price of the ticket. A reduced price of ten euros would seem more coherent.
However, a visit to the Catacombs, whether in Paris, Rome or any other major European city, is a must at least once in a lifetime.
What else can you do near the Paris Catacombs?
There’s no shortage of things to do in Paris. Among all the things to do, I recommend the nearby Catacombes de Paris:
- Parc Montsouris
- The Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art
- Paris Observatory
- The Butte-aux-Cailles district
- The Great Mosque of Paris
- The Museum of the Liberation of Paris
- The Galleries of the Jardin des Plantes.