Visiting the Paris Catacombs

2 minutes of reading
article published on 05/05/2023

How to visit the catacombs in Paris ?

Whether you are a Parisian or a visitor to the capital, book a visit to the catacombs of Paris to discover the city differently. The City of Light is known throughout the world for the richness of its heritage and the beauty of its cityscape. From the Eiffel Tower to the Sacré Coeur Basilica, via the Louvre Museum and Notre-Dame Cathedral, your days will be filled with the discovery of these emblematic places, vestiges of French history. The Paris catacombs are a truly unusual visit that invites you to explore an underground labyrinth that winds its way through the heart of the city.

The Paris Catacombs : a little bit of history

Descend 20 metres underground to enter the galleries of the Paris catacombs. Built in former quarries, the catacombs are home to the world’s largest cemetery of human bones, covering almost 11,000 m². The atmosphere inside is special and takes you on a real journey through history. During your visit, you will cross the 800-metre long gallery of bones, covered floor-to-ceiling with bones, some of which are said to belong to Rabelais, Racine, Colbert, Robespierre or Danton. 

This ossuary is made up of bones from several municipal cemeteries that were evacuated in the 18th century for health reasons. The catacombs are thus arranged in such a way as to be able to store the bones: long bones, skulls, in galleries that can be visited.

The catacombs have been accessible to the public since 1809. Over the centuries, the catacombs’ facilities have been modernised to welcome visitors in the best possible conditions: electricity, comfort, security and visitor management systems, etc. Today, they have become a real curiosity that contributes to the attraction of the city and attracts many tourists and Parisians every year.

The catacombs : An unusual visit to discover Paris

Your guided tour in Paris will be the opportunity to discover the catacombs. This atypical visit will take you through a maze of galleries that take place right under your feet and that will change from the main boulevards lined with Haussmannian buildings. Do you already know the city very well or would you like to take an atypical visit, as original as it is unexpected? The catacombs will give you the thrill you are looking for. In addition to discovering another facet of the city, you will also learn more about the history of the site, the excavations and the ossuary. The catacombs of Paris are now one of the most famous historical monuments in the capital and are included in most tourist circuits.

Prepare your visit

We provide you with everything you need to know to prepare your visit to the catacombs of Paris, in the 14th arrondissement of the capital.  

You can visit the catacombs with the audio guide or choose the guided tour with a Paris Musées guide and thus access another part of the catacombs which includes the Sacellum crypt, the sepulchral lamp and Gilbert’s tomb. To avoid waiting at the entrance to the monument, remember to book your tickets directly online. It takes about 1 hour to visit the 1.5 km of galleries. Access is by staircase only. Over the years, the catacombs have also hosted art exhibitions that are showcased in this very special place.

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