Paris Catacombs (Les Catacombes de Paris)

#16 in Best Things To Do in Paris
Paris Catacombs (Les Catacombes de Paris) picture
haahr/Flickr

Key Info

1 Avenue Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy

Details

Monuments and Memorials, Tours Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
3.9scorecard
  • 4.0Value
  • 0.0Food Scene
  • 3.5Atmosphere

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). Guided tours of the Catacombs are another option. For more information, visit The Catacomb's website

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More Best Things To Do in Paris

Notre-Dame Cathedral (Cathedrale de Notre Dame de Paris)
Musée du Louvre
Type
Time to Spend
1 of 24
#1 Notre-Dame Cathedral (Cathedrale de Notre Dame de Paris)

Note that the cathedral sustained significant damage as a result of a fire on April 15, 2019. Its wooden roof and spire collapsed during the fire. It remains closed until further notice.

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 often regarded as one of the best Gothic cathedrals of its kind in the world. Construction of the famous cathedral started in the late 10th century and final touches weren't made until nearly 200 years later. And once you get an eyeful of the cathedral yourself, you'll start to understand why it took so long.

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