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Top sights in Paris
"Stop! This is the Empire of the Dead!" warns the greeting sign at the Catacombs, Paris' ancient tunnel network turned mass tomb. Only parts of it are open to the public, and the rest is rife with Parisian rebellion, romance, and idealism!
18th century Parisian cemeteries were so full that they were spoiling the city's wine and milk! Soon after, six million bodies were transferred to the city's ancient underground quarries.
People have long believed the Catacombs to be haunted. Most accounts can probably be attributed to smugglers making ghastly noises to scare citizens into staying out!
Since the network of underground tunnels is so vast, it's hard to dig deep foundations for new buildings. That's why Paris is counted among the most low-lying capital cities.
The French Resistance used the Catacombs to hide from the Nazis, who struggled to infiltrate them since they didn't have maps. One urban legend tells of a military unit vanishing into thin air!
People often enter the Catacombs illegally to party or paint murals. An entire cinema was even discovered. The electricity had been cut, with a note saying "Don't try to find us!"
If you want to avoid queuing for hours, your best bet is to book a skip-the-line guided tour in advance. 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.
A good (legal!) tour of the Catacombs should take two to three hours.
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!
- When should I visit?10:00AM to 8:00PM on Tuesdays to Sundays. Last entry is at 7:00PM.
- 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 thereDenfert-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
What people are saying about Paris Catacombs
Our tour guide was animated and gave great background information on all aspects of the tours history. Would hardly have enjoyed the catacombs at all with the florist of her storytelling.
Without the electronical guide you would have missed it all. Skipping the line is just one of the advantages.
We did the skip the line tickets for the catacombs and arrived about 90 minutes before our ticket time not knowing what else the area would offer. A line went down one entire length of street and was turning the corner, all for access to the catacombs. I went to the front and spoke with the friendly security personnel who said to come back at our time (4:30) and come to the front of a specific line and we’d get right in. We chose to go to a brasserie diagonally across from the entrance and enjoyed two rounds of drinks while watching everyone stand in the cold wet afternoon, barely moving! We paid for our drinks, crossed the street and within minutes we’re passing through security and picking up our audio tours. I will say that the audio tour markers inside the catacombs are not well marked so make sure you keep playing the next track until you get to track 6 which has the next visible marker before they vanish agin. Would definitely recommend this tour!
In a city full of beautiful places, this stands out uniquely macabre. The place is well organized and reasonably well lit. They don't let too many people in at once. Definitely book online because there are long lines for people without tickets, and many don't actually get in, even after waiting for hours. The address listed is just the street, not the actual location. Google brings you to the street, but several blocks away. Use the Google location for the Catacombs. Google has it right.
Our guide was amazing and personable. She was very thorough in her explainations and very educated on the history of the catacombs. After the tour she made herself available to answer any questions or offer suggestions for other tours or sights to see. Highly highly recommend this tour!