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Visit the Paris Catacombs | Highlights, Visitor Information, and More

Discover the fascinating chronicles beneath the Catacombs of Paris, an eerie yet captivating underground labyrinth, as you make your way along the maze of walls lined with bones and skulls. With a rich...

Also Known As

Paris Municipal Ossuary

Founded On

1809

Founded By

Charles-Axel Guillaumot

Quick information

RECOMMENDED DURATION

2 hours

VISITORS PER YEAR

600000

EXPECTED WAIT TIME - STANDARD

2+ hours (Peak), 30-60 mins (Off Peak)

EXPECTED WAIT TIME - SKIP THE LINE

30-60 mins (Peak), 0-30 mins (Off Peak)

Plan your visit

Fun facts

It took 12 years, from 1786 to 1798, to relocate the remains of six million Parisians into the catacombs, transforming the former quarries into an ossuary.

Farmers utilized the catacombs for mushroom cultivation. The controlled environment provided ideal conditions, contributing to an unexpected agricultural use of the subterranean space.

Throughout history, secret meetings and parties have taken place in the catacombs, attracting various clandestine groups seeking an atmospheric and hidden location for their gatherings.

More interesting facts



How to buy Paris Catacombs tickets & tours?

Paris Catacombs Tickets with Audioguide
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€32.99
Paris Catacombs Guided Tour
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€117.95
Combo: Catacombs Tickets + Seine River Cruise
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€49.90
Combo (Save 49%): Arc de Triomphe with Rooftop Access + Paris Catacombs Entrance Tickets with Audio Guide
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€43.64

What are the Paris Catacombs?

Step into the mysterious depths of the Paris Catacombs, an underground ossuary holding the remains of over six million people. These underground tunnels were once bustling quarries but became burial sites due to overcrowded cemeteries, creating an otherworldly landscape that's both eerie and captivating. This subterranean labyrinth stretches over 200 miles beneath the city, featuring eerie tunnels and dimly lit passages, surrounded by neatly arranged bones and skulls, each with a story to tell. It's a journey through history unlike any other, where you can contemplate the fragility of life while marveling at the ingenuity of human architecture. The Catacombs attract visitors worldwide, intrigued by its dark allure and historical significance, making it a unique and haunting cultural landmark.

Plan your visit to the Paris Catacombs

Opening hours
Location
catacombs paris hours

What's inside the Paris Catacombs?

port mahon corridor

Port-Mahon Corridor

Strolling through the Port-Mahon Corridor, you'll be greeted by stunning sculptures crafted by Francois Décure, a French quarryman. The captivating sculpture of Port Mahon, a fortress nestled in the picturesque landscapes of Menorca, Spain, steals the show. Legend has it that Décure carved this masterpiece from memory, reminiscing about his time imprisoned within its walls by the British.

the quarrymen's footpath

The Quarrymen's Footpath

Centuries before the Catacombs became the maze of tunnels we know today, quarrymen tread this very path to fetch water for their construction projects and to wash themselves. Along this historic route, you'll stumble upon an array of intriguing sights – from intricate skull and bone arrangements to ancient tombs, altars, plaques, and so much more.

barrel of passion - Catacombs’ Ossuary, Paris

Ossuary

Brace yourselves for a bone-chilling adventure through the spine-tingling Ossuary. This section is not for the faint of heart! Lined with millions of Parisians' final resting places, towering piles of bones and skulls are arranged in hauntingly symmetrical patterns that stretch as far as the eye can see. Wait until you see the infamous Barrel of Passion – a spine-tingling arrangement of skeletal remains forming a ceiling-high barrel.

History of the Paris Catacombs in a nutshell

During the reign of the ancient Romans, the rich limestone deposits on the banks of the Seine River were mined to build the city of Paris. But as time passed, these quarries were abandoned, forgotten, and left to decay.

Fast forward to the 18th century – overflowing cemeteries polluted the city's waters, and the streets were flooded with sewage. To address this, King Louis XVI commissioned the mapping and fortification of these forgotten tunnels. Between 1785 and 1787, the Catacombs were born – a resting place for millions from over 150 cemeteries. The passageways were lined with artistic arrangements of skeletal remains.

The Catacombs have inspired literary classics like Victor Hugo's Les Misérables and served as a refuge for the French resistance during World War II.

Today, these historic tunnels beckon curious visitors through the underground maze, entering the imposing black gates and emerging into the light of day.

Who built the Paris Catacombs?

The banks of the Seine River, rich in limestone, had been mined since the 1st century, and its stones were used to build the city of Paris leaving a labyrinth of tunnels beneath the city. A series of mine cave-ins in 1774 caused King Louis XVI to commission to map and strengthen the underground tunnels.

By the 18th century, there was no place left to bury the dead. Under these conditions, it was decided that the bodies would be moved to the tunnels that had been strengthened by King Louis XVI.

Frequently asked questions about the Catacombs in Paris

What are the Paris Catacombs?

The Paris Catacombs are underground ossuaries holding the remains of over six million Parisians. These underground tunnels were once bustling quarries but became burial sites due to overcrowded cemeteries, and stretches over 200 miles beneath the city.

Why are the Paris Catacombs famous?

Repurposed in the late 18th century, these underground tunnels solved the city's cemetery overflow problem, serving as the final resting place for millions of Parisians. The Catacombs boast impressive features, including intricate arrangements of human bones and skulls, fascinating visitors for centuries

What can I do at the Paris Catacombs?

Inside the Paris Catacombs, you can explore the ossuary that holds the remains of over 6 million Parisians arranged in intricate patterns, encounter the plaques and markers detailing the history of the tunnels, and marvel at the architectural features like the high-vaulted ceilings and stone walls. Catch a glimpse of the infamous Barrel of Passion, the Port-Mahon Corridor, and the Quarrymen's Footpath.

How can I get tickets to the Paris Catacombs?

Paris Catacombs tickets can be purchased at the gate or online. To avoid long queues and the potential disappointment of tickets selling out, we recommend buying tickets in advance online. This also allows you to opt for tickets based on your preferences, such as guided tours and combo tickets that include access to other attractions.

How much are the Paris Catacombs tickets?

Basic entry tickets to the Paris Catacombs with audioguides start at €30. There are also options to purchase additional experiences like guided tours or combo tickets to enhance your experience.

Are there guided tours available at the Paris Catacombs?

Yes, Paris Catacombs guided tours are available. These tours provide in-depth insights into the history, architecture, and symbolism of the catacombs in English. These tours are not included in the standard admission ticket and come at an extra cost.

Where are the Paris Catacombs located?

The Paris Catacombs entrance is located at 1 Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, 75014 Paris, France.

How can I get to the Paris Catacombs?

The Paris Catacombs entrance is located at 1 Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, 75014 Paris, France. The easiest way to reach the Paris Catacombs is by metro; you can take either line 4 or 6 to the Denfert-Rochereau station. You can also take line B on the RER to the Denfert-Rochereau station. Numerous bus lines stop near the basilica, including lines 38, 68, 88, and 91 at the Denfert-Rochereau stop. If you're driving, you can park your vehicle at Boulevard Saint-Jacques.

What are the Paris Catacombs timings?

The Paris Catacombs are open from Tuesday to Sunday between 9:45am and 8:30pm and the last entry is at 7:30pm. The catacombs are closed on Mondays, January 1, May 1, and December 25. Exploring the catacombs typically requires at least an hour.

What is the best time to visit the Paris Catacombs?

The best time to visit the Paris Catacombs is early morning or late evening. Weekends are generally busier than weekdays. If you want to avoid the crowds, visit during the off-season, between October to May.

Are the Paris Catacombs wheelchair accessible?

No, the Paris Catacombs are not wheelchair accessible as stairs are the only way to access the underground tunnels.

Are there dining options available at the Paris Catacombs?

While there are no dining options inside the Paris Catacombs, there are plenty of restaurants and cafes in the surrounding area.

Is photography allowed at the Paris Catacombs?

Photography is permitted at the Paris Catacombs. However, flash photography and tripod use are not allowed at the Catacombs.

Is there a dress code for visiting the Paris Catacombs?

There is no dress code at the Paris Catacombs. However, we recommend you wear comfortable shoes for the walk and carry a light jacket to keep warm since the temperature is several degrees cooler underground.

What other attractions are near the Paris Catacombs?

You can visit the Panthéon (2.4 km) a mausoleum that contains the remains of distinguished French citizens, including Marie Curie, Rousseau, and Voltaire. Also visit the Conciergerie (3.3 km), a former royal palace turned prison that housed notable prisoners before their execution during the French Revolution including Marie Antoinette. Sainte-Chapelle (3.3 km), a stunning Gothic chapel renowned for its exquisite stained glass windows showcasing Biblical scenes is also a must-visit.