Get Spooked at the Catacombs in Paris

There aren’t many things I would stand in line almost three hours for. In fact, the last time was over fifteen years ago to get an autographed copy of Anne Rice’s newest novel for my husband. And at that time there was no option for cell phone entertainment. At least while waiting to get spooked at the Catacombs in Paris I had Angry Birds. Either way, it was worth the one hundred and sixty-eight minutes of anticipation.

The Catacombs in Paris, France is a labyrinth of caves underneath the heart of the city and the resting place for the bones of six million Parisians.
Catacombs in Paris, France

Starting in the late eighteenth century, remains were transferred to the ossuary as overcrowded graveyards were closing due to the risk to the public. Though the underground maze is extensive, the portion that is open to the public is a two kilometer Catacombs tour filled with skulls, bones & stones. Creepily cool.

We arrived a half hour before opening and were greeted by a line about a half block long. That didn’t scare us, so we decided to run across the street for a pastry and coffee first, just to see if it shrinks a bit. Dumb idea. By the time my cappuccino was finished the line was two and a half blocks long. We took our position. And waited.

It was one of those things where just when you think you don’t want to wait any longer, the line moves two feet. Inspiration.
Catacombs in Paris

Finally, we entered to the dimly lit, narrow passageway and cautiously traveled through a tunnel and down the 130 stairs. For the first portion there were no bones in sight, then they started to border the walkways, with a row of skulls at the top. All neatly stacked.

Sadly, there would be no way to identify loved ones here.

We continued to explore the endless thin paths, which led to chambers, which led to more femurs and craniums. It was an overwhelming display and at times you forgot that those were the actual remains of real people. And when I did remember, I got spooked.
Catacombs in Paris
Catacombs in Paris

When we reached the end, a stern guard stood at the exit to check our bags, just to make sure I didn’t stick a humerus bone in my purse. Not a chance.

Is getting spooked at the Catacombs in Paris on your bucket list?

Catacombs in Paris location: 1 Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy (Denfert-Rochereau metro stop)

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2017-03-09T20:39:54+00:00 January 18th, 2014|Categories: Europe, France, QUIRKY|Tags: |

13 Comments

  1. The Yum List January 19, 2014 at 4:43 pm - Reply

    Ooh, I definitely would get spooked in this place.

  2. Renuka January 20, 2014 at 1:07 am - Reply

    This one is really spooky! I don’t know if I’d like to visit it. Are these real dead people’s skulls?

  3. Jean | Holy Smithereens January 25, 2014 at 5:53 pm - Reply

    Gosh that does look spooky…and right up my alley! I can’t believe i missed this in Paris. Will have to do this bucket list for next time 🙂

    • Annette White January 25, 2014 at 10:41 pm - Reply

      Definitely put it on your things to do list for the next time you are in Paris!

  4. Tiana Kai January 26, 2014 at 12:01 pm - Reply

    Very cool! I just took a tour of the catacombs of Priscilla in Rome and had no idea they were just a quick drive from Villa Borghese. It was so memorable and a great addition to all the fun sights besides the typical tourist spots. This one looks cool, was in Paris in September and had no clue about these!

  5. the lazy travelers January 27, 2014 at 4:43 am - Reply

    i did this about two years ago and agree–really cool, REALLY spooky. we were there in february so there were no lines, which is a plus because i am not a very patient person. 168 minutes of anticipation and you probably could have just stacked me on top of one of the piles by the time we made it in.

  6. Luis-Paris May 20, 2014 at 9:07 am - Reply

    Hi everybody,
    I know how to enter in the REAL catacombs of Paris, is anybody interested ?

  7. Brigitte November 4, 2014 at 5:02 am - Reply

    I would be thinking about that latest horror movie the whole time, as above so below haha

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  9. Milena Yordanova March 5, 2015 at 1:56 am - Reply

    I arrived one hour before the opening time and there were already about 30 people waiting in line. However, it’s totally worth the wait, the visit is a unique experience.

    • Annette White March 5, 2015 at 2:43 pm - Reply

      It is worth it! I just recommend bringing coffee/pastries or a picnic lunch while you wait 😉

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