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Paris Catacombs

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Paris Catacombs: Our most recommended tours and activities

Paris Catacombs: Tour

1. Paris Catacombs: Tour

Join your knowledgeable, informative guide on this tour through the underground passages and special rooms of the Catacombs. Get the most out of your visit as you listen to unique insights from your guide and together, navigate this dark but curious space. Learn the intriguing stories of those who worked, visited, and have been laid to rest here over the centuries, including the secret societies who still visit today. Discover the history of the labyrinthian passages, from how they were initially mined for limestone to how they are now home to the bones of more than 6 million former Parisians. The remains that you’ll walk past were carefully moved here in the 18th century, in a discreet operation to transfer them from the unclean and overflowing cemeteries of the city center.

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Paris: Catacombs Skip-the-Ticket-Line Ticket and Audio Guide

2. Paris: Catacombs Skip-the-Ticket-Line Ticket and Audio Guide

Avoid the hassle of ticket counters. Simply show your voucher, start your self-guided tour and explore the 'City of Lights' at your own pace with an informative audio guide. As you discover a world beneath the streets of Paris, see tunnels and rooms decorated with the human bones and skulls of around 6 million Parisians. The Paris Catacombs were originally a quarry with hundreds of kilometers of tunnels burrowed beneath the streets of Paris. When the cemeteries of Paris became overfilled, the city started moving the dead into the Catacombs. 

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Paris Catacombs: Special Access Small Group Tour

3. Paris Catacombs: Special Access Small Group Tour

Get fast track entry to the underground cemetery of the Paris Catacombs, composed of miles of underground tunnels lined with the skulls and bones of some 6 million Parisians. Join a local guide and explore the catacombs in a small group of no more than 19 people. Each room reveals ever more ornate and macabre bone decorations. Hear the unbelievable story of how the catacombs were built, and the massive project that was undertaken to move bones from around the city to this point. Your special access status means the guards will also open gates just for your group, letting you into areas such as a secret chapel decorated with skulls and femurs. The Paris Catacombs contain bones representing some 2,000 years of history, and their construction was a unique civil engineering project that helped give rise to the modern-day city.

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Paris Catacombs: VIP Skip-the-Line Restricted Access Tour

4. Paris Catacombs: VIP Skip-the-Line Restricted Access Tour

Beneath the streets of Paris there is another, darker side to the city that few get to see. Twenty meters (and more) below street level, the galleries of the Paris Catacombs extend for over 200 miles - a subterranean maze under the city that many are unaware of as they stroll along the streets above. Initially quarried to provide limestone for the construction of the famous Parisian buildings and bridges, the Paris Catacombs are now home to the bones of more than 6 million former Parisians. Their remains were carefully moved here in the 18th century, in a discreet operation to transfer them from the unclean and overflowing cemeteries of the city center. Overcrowding in these cemeteries led to improper burials, open graves and unearthed corpses, spreading disease (and a few horror stories!) into the surrounding areas. Nowadays, wall after wall of stacked bones, and some more slightly macabre compositions, await you as you follow an expert local guide into "The Empire of Death". Fans of the film "As Above So Below" will recognize these never-ending gloomy tunnels.  Along with millions of ordinary Parisians, it is said that the Man in the Iron mask lies here, as do both executioners and their victims, guillotined during the French Revolution. Your guide will lead you through the underground passages and into some very special rooms.  Only 200 people are allowed in this fragile and remarkable site at any one time, and your small group visit will ensure that you get the most out of this extraordinary place, allowing you to spend more time enjoying the rooms and interacting with your guide. This special tour also allows you access to parts of the Catacombs that are closed to the general public. Have underground gates unlocked specially for you and your group, and learn the intriguing stories of those who worked, visited and have been laid to rest here over the centuries, including the secret societies who still visit today.  Past and present Paris and its inhabitants come to life as you explore the city’s gloomy entrails concealed below the surface.

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Paris: Small-Group Catacombs Tour with Skip-the-Line Entry

5. Paris: Small-Group Catacombs Tour with Skip-the-Line Entry

Beneath the dazzling lights of modern Paris lie the devilishly dark catacombs. On this small-group tour have skip-the-line entry and exclusive access to restricted areas. Explore the 200-mile maze of remains from roughly 6 million Parisians with an expert guide.  Your Paris Catacombs tour begins with a bone-chilling descent down the complex’s 133-step staircase. Your guide will explain how these tunnels were used in the 13th-century to quarry limestone for buildings as grand as Notre Dame. As you make your way through the narrow tunnels, learn why bad weather in the 1780s forced Parisians to bury their dead here. During the tour, have plenty of time to admire the Catacombs’ disturbingly detailed bone decorations. From religious iconography to hearts, workers found many ways to “beautify” the bones housed in this complex. There is, however, one decoration that will really make your spine tingle. Inside the popular Crypt of the Passion take a few moments to gaze at “The Barrel,” which is constructed out of various skeletal remains. In addition to housing the dead, the Catacombs played an important role during many significant historic events. Your guide will tell you tales of the German Wehrmacht and the French Resistance who both used part of the Catacombs as wartime bunkers during World War II. Also, learn about its relationship to the French Revolution.  If you are not afraid of ghosts, then ask your guide about the grave of the doorman Philibert Aspairt who passed away in the Catacombs in the 18th century. Learn about the cataphiles who have caused a stir in recent years for hosting huge raves, swimming parties, and an extensive network in this underground city of the dead. Keep your eyes peeled for graffiti left by cataphiles on your Catacombs Tour.

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Skip-the-Line: Paris Catacombs Guided Tour with VIP Access

6. Skip-the-Line: Paris Catacombs Guided Tour with VIP Access

Paris is commonly known for its beauty and romance. However, far beneath the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre is an entirely different, intimidating world. In the Catacombs of Paris there is an inscription above a doorway that reads: Beware of the Realm of Death. This is a suitable warning to prepare you for a memorable, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Access to the Catacombs is extremely limited as only 200 people are allowed to enter the site at a time. Consequently, lines can be very long and waits can be up to 2 hours. Privileged, skip-the-line access lets you save time and energy to make the most out of this personalized visit. Nearly 300 kilometers of tunnels and narrow paths stretch below the streets of Paris. Originally, the Catacombs were limestone quarries, hollowed out for the construction of the most famous bridges and buildings in the city. Beginning in the 18th century, the Catacombs served as the final resting place for more than 6 million people, and skeletons, bones, and skulls of exhumed bodies neatly line the walls and arches. Join this exclusive small-group, skip-the-line tour and see Paris in a different light than ever before.

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Paris: Skip-the-Line Catacombs Tour

7. Paris: Skip-the-Line Catacombs Tour

Explore the world-famous Parisian Catacombs without the hassle of getting in line This exclusive walking tour takes you through the underground world of the catacombs which are home to the bones of over 6 million people. Learn the history behind the Catacombs, why the labyrinth of tunnels became an underground cemetery, and see the piles of bones within. Experience first hand the grizzly reality of this massive underground cemetery without wasting time in line. Numbers are limited to a maximum of 19 people for this tour. This ensures that you will receive personalized attention from your knowledgeable, expert, English speaking guide. A truly unique tour, this underground world is one not to be missed on any trip to Paris.

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Planning Your Visit

  • Best time to go

    If you want to avoid waiting for hours, your best bet is to book your tour in advance and skip the ticket line. Failing that, arriving 30 minutes to an hour before it opens (Tuesdays to Sundays from 10:00AM to 8:00PM) will cut the wait significantly.

  • How long does it take?

    A good (legal!) tour of the Catacombs should take two to three hours.

  • What to wear

    The chances of getting dirty are high, so dress down and wear comfortable shoes. Rest assured that there'll be at least six million people down there looking worse than you do!

Good to know

  • When should I visit?
    Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 AM-8:30 PM
    Holiday hours may vary
  • Is it expensive?
    €10 entry for the Catacombs and the exhibition, which can be combined with entry to the crypt for €15 altogether.
  • Will I need a guide?
    It will definitely help. It's worth checking out our best-selling tours.
  • How to get there
    Denfert-Rochereau, accessible on metro line 2 as well as RER B, is the nearest station.
  • Additional information
    *Wear good walking shoes, but fancy clothing is not recommended!
    *Last entry is at 7:00PM

Other Sightseeing Options in Paris Catacombs

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What people are saying about Paris Catacombs

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 8,493 reviews

10/10 experience! We did not have to wait in the long line and was politely escorted into the building. The audio guides gave us that rich history and understanding of what we were seeing that really added to our overall experience. Definitely worth the price and highly recommend to anyone wanting to visit the catacombs.

This was a great tour, our guide Caroline Lagarde was really nice, warm and enthusiastic about giving us as many information as possible. It was super easy to find her, she was waiting for us in front of the group entry as promised. She made a tour very special for us. We highly recommend it.

Our guide was amazing. You could tell she was very passionate about the catacombs and all the information was great. Highly recommend this guide for your tour.

Very interesting history. And the decision to respect the remains of the departed was great.

Our guide was very knowledgeable and had a great sense of humor.