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Catacombs of Paris Visitors Guide

Paris Catacombs

The Catacombs, which form a veritable labyrinth beneath the very heart of Paris, were created in the galleries of the former quarries whose stone was used to build the capital.

Situated twenty meters below ground, the Catacombs contains the remains of approximately six million Parisians, transferred there gradually between the late eighteenth and mid-nineteenth centuries as graveyards were being closed because of the risk they posed to public health. The first of these was the cimetière des Innocents graveyard in 1786 in what is now the district of Les Halle. In the long maze of dark galleries and narrow passages, visitors can see a tableau of death with bones arranged in a macabre display of high Romantic taste.

During the French Revolution, people were buried directly in the Catacombs, including members of the Swiss Guard killed in the storming of the Tuileries palace on 10 August 1792 and victims of the massacres in September 1792. The remains of victims of the guillotine transferred there from their original burial pits include Lavoisier (1743 – 1794), Madame Elisabeth (1764 – 1794), Camille and Lucile Desmoulins (1760 – 1794 and 1771 – 1794), Danton (1759 – 1794) and Robespierre (1758 – 1794).

Hours: Tuesday through Sunday (10:00 am to 5:00 pm), closed on Mondays. Admission: Adults (€8); Youth aged 13 to 26 (€4); free for children less than 13 years old; reduced fee (€6) for the elderly, unemployed and members of various French art & historical associations.

Where? Catacombs of Paris, 1, avenue of Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris

Metro: Denfert-Rochereau