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Paris Catacombs (Les Catacombes de Paris)

#14 in Best Things To Do in Paris

Paris Catacombs (Les Catacombes de Paris) picture in Paris
haahr / Flickr

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  • Monuments and Memorials, Tours Type
  • 1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
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    4.0
  • Atmosphere
    3.5

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Not every inch of Paris is as romantic as you think  in fact, the Catacombs are downright chilling. Prior to the creation of the Catacombs in the late 18th century, Parisians buried their dead in cemeteries. But as the city continued to grow, burial grounds ran out of space, graves started to become exposed and stunk up surrounding neighborhoods. The limestone quarries located 65 feet beneath Paris eventually became the solution, providing ample and safe space for the city's deceased loved ones. It took 12 years to move 6 million bodies from all the Parisien graves. 

Today, the solemn, skull-and-boned lined tunnels weave beneath the heart of the City of Love, beckoning to visitors with an interest in the departed. The catacombs stretch for miles all over the city, but visitors are only allowed to access a mile's worth for 45 minutes at the Denfert-Rochereau (lines 4,6 and RER B) metro station. Trying to access the catacombs at any other entrance throughout the city is illegal. You'll want to wear sturdy footwear as the paths inside are full of gravel, uneven and even slippery in some sections. And because of the attraction's unique nature and popularity, expect a queue. Recent travelers advised arriving as close to opening time as possible (or even before) to aim for the shortest wait time. But even then, travelers encountered long lines. The best way to avoid lines is to buy tickets ahead of time on the attraction's website. Those with even the slightest claustrophobia might want to sit this one out, as the tunnels are only about 5 feet high. 

Visitors are welcome to tour the Catacombs Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Admission is 12 euros ($13.47) for adults. Discounted rates are available for adults between the ages of 18 and 26 and admission is free for those 17 years old and younger. However, this attraction is not recommended for children 14 years older and younger. The Catacombs are also not recommended for those with respiratory or cardiac problems. For a more in-depth experience of the catacombs, consider purchasing an audio guide (5 euros or $5.64). Viator also offers guided tours of the Catacombs. For more information, visit The Catacomb's website

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Villa Montparnasse

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  • 0.2 Miles Away
  • 4.0-star Hotel Class
Hôtel du Lion

Hôtel du Lion ...

  • None Miles Away
  • 2.0-star Hotel Class
Hôtel du Midi Paris Montparnasse

Hôtel du Midi Paris Montparnasse ...

  • 0.1 Miles Away
  • 3.0-star Hotel Class
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#1 Notre-Dame Cathedral (Cathedrale de Notre Dame de Paris) Like the Eiffel Tower, the Notre-Dame Cathedral is seen as a Parisian icon. Located right along the picturesque River Seine, the Notre-Dame Cathedral is considered a Gothic masterpiece and is ... Read more » gbarm / Getty Images

#2 Musee du Louvre If you only had time to visit one museum in Paris, it should undoubtedly be the Musée du Louvre. That's because the Louvre is not only widely considered to ... Read more » orpheus26 / Getty Images

#3 Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel) Designed and constructed for the 1889 Exposition Universelle (the World's Fair), the Eiffel Tower was always meant to be a temporary structure, but it skirted demolition talks twice.  ... Read more » Eric Schaeffer / Getty Images

#4 Le Marais Straddling the 3ème and 4ème arrondissements (districts), Le Marais is one of Paris' oldest and coolest districts  so cool, in fact, that French writer Victor Hugo (author of "The Hunchback ... Read more » PicsFactory / Getty Images

#5 Sacred Heart Basilica of Montmartre (Sacre-Coeur) Rising high above Paris, the Sacré-Coeur (meaning "Sacred Heart") looks more like a white castle than a basilica  but that's what it is. Towering over the eclectic neighborhood of ... Read more » Jennifer Reedie / Getty Images

#6 Musee d'Orsay Housed in a former railway station along the Left Bank, the Musée d'Orsay is regarded for its rich collection of impressionist works. You'll see paintings by French artists ... Read more » Steve Shupe / Flickr

#7 Pere-Lachaise Cemetery (Cimetiere du Pere-Lachaise) A cemetery as a tourist attraction? If any city can pull it of, it's Paris. Covering nearly 110 acres of the 20th arrondissement (district), the Père-Lachaise Cemetery is considered one ... Read more » jacquesvandinteren / Getty Images

#8 Palais Garnier - Opera National de Paris A masterpiece of architectural opulence, the Opéra Garnier  also known as the Palais Garnier  still exudes the same enigmatic atmosphere it radiated in the late 1800s. This palpable sense of intrigue ... Read more » Joe deSousa / Flickr

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Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde and Edith Piaf are among the famous buried here. jacquesvandinteren / Getty Images

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The towering Arc de Triomphe can be found at the end of the famous Champs-Élysées. AndreaAstes / Getty Images

The Stravinsky Fountain features 16 separate fountains representing the themes and works by composer Igor Stravinsky. siraanamwong / Getty Images

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haahr / Flickr

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