The bones and skulls of six million people are located within the walls of the Parisian catacombs. Broken jaws creak, bones nest on top of each other to form hills. Welcome to the catacombs of Paris - underground tunnels, refuge of the outcast, mystical stories and many secrets.
The "City of Lights" shines and vibrates over the giant grave. The catacombs begin their history from the time of the Roman Empire. However, the true history of the catacombs begins in the eighteenth century. Parisian cemeteries were overcrowded. All Paris smelled like a huge abandoned carnage. The heavy smell of rotting meat spread through the air. Les Innocents, the largest cemetery of the period. Residents of Paris who lived nearby began to fall ill. The conditions in which the bodies of the dead were stored increased the risk of a new epidemic outbreak. A solution had to be found as soon as possible.
But what about the catacombs? No, they already existed at that time and were nothing more than underground quarries. The fact is that the aristocrats have long been actively rebuilding castles on the outskirts of Paris and used the limestone lying there and then as a building material. Limestone mines have permeated the entire underground Paris for several centuries.
In 1786, it was officially decided to begin reburial of the deceased in the former limestone quarries. Between 1787 and 1814 "Les Innocenets" and other overcrowded cemeteries in Paris begin to be devastated.
The remains of the Parisians begin to move underground, and since 1810 the catacombs have been open to the public. In 1859, the last bones were buried in the catacombs. In the period from the end of the 18th century to the middle of the 19th century, the remains of about six million people were brought here. The total area of the underground cemetery is 11 square kilometers.
Paris Catacombs Map
Today, only a small part of the Parisian catacombs is accessible to tourists. There is a small pavilion near the entrance to the metro station Denfert-Rochereau. This is the entrance to the famous Parisian catacombs.
The tour of the "Empire of Death" takes about 45 minutes and takes visitors through the era of the French Revolution (the remains of Jean-Paul Marat and Maximilian Robespierre are also here). The history and mystery of the catacombs extends far beyond the 2-kilometer lines of tourists waiting to enter the underground and mysterious world of Paris. The true life of the catacombs begins outside the tourism sector.
Dozens of kilometers of dark tunnels are decorated with graffiti. The people possessed by the catacombs are called "Cataphills".
Rumor has it that some of the catacombs have been converted into creative spaces, especially for "cataphile artists."
The catacombs of Paris also house a secret amphitheater and a giant movie screen where various films are projected.
Entrance to the Paris Catacombs
Those who enter the catacombs illegally, tourists or uninvited visitors, are exposed to many dangers. The catacombs are not just a "dark city" that lives under the "city of lights". In the dungeons, you can meet homeless people, young people who have problems with drugs or alcohol, as well as cultists who prefer to carry out their rituals in a quiet dungeon. Labyrinths almost never lead to exits.
The catacombs are patrolled by a special sports police brigade, created in 1980 in order to comply with the law of November 2, 1955, which prohibits all outsiders from being in the underground quarries of Paris outside the tourist areas. The minimum fine for a violation is 60 euros.