Paris Catacombs

Paris Catacombs
Visitors seeking a change from the vibrant streets of Paris and shimmering lights of the Eiffel Tower can go underground to experience a darker side of the city.

At a temperature of 14 degrees Celcius, the Paris Catacombs get chilly, even in summer, so grab a jacket before descending 130 steps and winding through an eerie series of tunnels leading to an 18th century graveyard. The site is located beneath its unassuming entrance on Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, and stretches more than a mile beneath the tree-lined boulevards above. Upon entry, visitors are warned “Arrête, c’est ici l’empire de la mort” (Stop! This is the empire of death!).

The Paris Catacombs in fact originated as a very practical solution to a serious sanitation problem. In the late 1700s, the Cimetière des Saints-Innocents , Paris’s largest cemetery, became overcrowded, leading to the spread of diseases through contaminated water. From 1785 to 1860, a project to exhume Parisian bones from local cemeteries was carried out, with the skeletons being ferried to a nearby disused quarry. The skeletons of around six million Parisians were transferred. Initially bones were just thrown into corridors, but in 1810, the bones needed to be arranged in an orderly fashion, and were stacked neatly and decoratively.

Today, visitors can peruse the displayed remains, with bones – some more than a century old – forming ornamental walls and sculptures. Intricately carved works by eighteenth century army veteran and quarryman Decure adorn the Port-Mahon corridor. Other features include the Samaritan Woman’s Fountain - a spring walled with bones, the large cross and altar at the Sacellum Crypt, and the Sepulchral Lamp – a fire bowl used to light the way of the quarrymen at work.

Allow an hour to wander through the tunnels, which are open every day except Mondays. Adults must accompany children under the age of 14.

To avoid congestion down in the caverns, the number of visitors entering the Catacombs is limited to 200 at any time, leading to long queues above, so it’s best to arrive early. The Catacombs open every day except Monday and public holidays. First admission is at 10 a.m. but queues start to form well before then. Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult. The tour takes around 45 minutes to complete, and is concluded with a bag check, to make sure all of the bones remain underground!

Top 10 Hotels Near Paris Catacombs

Hotel Renoir Saint Germain
Hotel Renoir Saint Germain
3 out of 5
39 Rue Du Montparnasse, Paris, Paris, 75014
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is RM392 per night from 30 Jan to 31 Jan
RM392
per night
30 Jan - 31 Jan
Stay at this 3-star hotel in Paris. Enjoy free WiFi, breakfast and a 24-hour front desk. Our guests praise the helpful staff in their reviews. Popular attractions ...
3.2/5 (910 reviews)
"Fantastic service and a great spot"

Reviewed on 6 Jan 2023

Hotel Renoir Saint Germain
Hôtel Vacances Bleues Villa Modigliani
Hôtel Vacances Bleues Villa Modigliani
3 out of 5
13 rue Delambre, Paris, Paris, 75014
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is RM438 per night from 30 Jan to 31 Jan
RM438
per night
30 Jan - 31 Jan
Stay at this 3-star business-friendly hotel in Paris. Enjoy free WiFi, breakfast and room service. Our guests praise the quiet rooms in their reviews. Popular ...
4.1/5 Very Good! (1,006 reviews)
Great location
"Good family room with bunk beds perfect location for metro too to see main sights."

Reviewed on 23 Jan 2023

Hôtel Vacances Bleues Villa Modigliani
Pullman Paris Montparnasse Hotel
Pullman Paris Montparnasse Hotel
4 out of 5
19 Rue Commandant Rene Mouchotte, Paris, Paris, 75014
The price is RM929 per night from 19 Feb to 20 Feb
RM929
per night
19 Feb - 20 Feb
Stay at this 4-star family-friendly hotel in Paris. Enjoy free WiFi, 2 restaurants and 2 bars/lounges. Our guests praise the comfy rooms and the family amenities ...
4.5/5 Wonderful! (124 reviews)
"The property was OK where expensive the Coca-Cola and the restaurant five euros"

Reviewed on 17 Jan 2023

Pullman Paris Montparnasse Hotel
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
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Aparthotel Adagio Porte de Versailles

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Hôtel Stanislas
Hôtel Stanislas
2 out of 5
5 Rue du Montparnasse, Paris, 75006
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Hôtel Vacances Bleues Villa Modigliani
Hôtel Vacances Bleues Villa Modigliani
3 out of 5
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Hotel Renoir Saint Germain
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3 out of 5
39 Rue Du Montparnasse, Paris, Paris, 75014
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Pullman Paris Montparnasse Hotel
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4 out of 5
19 Rue Commandant Rene Mouchotte, Paris, Paris, 75014
Pullman Paris Montparnasse Hotel
Victoria Palace Hotel Paris
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4 out of 5
6 Rue Blaise-Desgoffe, Paris, Paris, 75006
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L'Hôtel Royal Saint Germain
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3 out of 5
159 Rue De Rennes, Paris, Paris, 75006
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Five Boutique Hotel Paris Quartier Latin
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3 out of 5
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Select Hotel - Rive Gauche
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4 out of 5
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K+K Hotel Cayre Paris
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4 out of 5
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Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.