I was often asked by my friends whether I visited Paris Catacombs.
My answer was – No, what for?
And I was not really into visiting this place until my guest wanted to see it…
And surprisingly it was way more interesting that I initially imagined.
After oven an hour of queuing, we got inside. Firstly – endless steps down.
Next – quite a long empty corridor but announcing interesting things to come – to start with – the date of 1781.
Along the way we passed multiple indications of names of the streets, of aqueducts, all marked with centuries old dates.
We walked in the corridors that used to be, before the creation of Catacombs, the mining corridors.
The limestone was extracted from here and served to build multiple buildings in Paris. The most famous one would be.. Notre Dame Cathedral of course.
And finally we reached the entrance of the “couloir de la mort” – the “death’s corridor”.
And there… bones and sculls everywhere. It is estimated that around 6 million skeletons can be found there (but not all can be accessed as visitors).
Each “compartment” announces from which cemetery the bones where moved and when.
To make long story short, the skeletons were moved there when the Paris graveyards were overflowing and represented a serious health hazard to Paris citizens.
In many places you can notice the design effort:
Many people say there are still plenty of corridors underneath Paris that are not known publicly.. even if known to some.
Around 2005 the Police discovered a cinema, bar, etc. in one of the corridors – all very professionally organised – with electricity, phone lines, camera security, etc.
When they back the following day, all has disappeared, the electricity cables were cut, and they found a note warning them not to pursue the search.
Some interesting stories about Paris Catacombs and tunnels – “Secret history of underground quarries and catacombs of Paris” website
Ready to explore it? The official discovery of the Catacombs’ starts here: Paris Catacombs’ offical website