The Paris Catacombs are a series of tunnels containing ossuaries with the remains of over 6 million people, many dating to the 18th century and dark periods in Paris' history. This mysterious location was originally created to deal with overflowing cemeteries and by the 19th century had become a novelty setting for macabre events.

Movies, TV series and other media have used the Catacombs as a set piece, including 'The Holes', 'Father Brown', 'As Above, So Below', 'The Mommy' animated TV series and the 'Deus Ex' video game. Tours run by the Paris Museums are a popular visitor attraction.

Paris Catacombs - one of the highlights of 14 Most Instagrammable Places in Paris and 10 Creepy Places in Europe (Read all about Paris here)

Highlights of the Paris Catacombs

The Paris Catacombs were originally excavated after a series of basement walls of the Saint Innocents Cemetery collapsed into the Parisian underground in 1774. The overflowing cemeteries had become a problem, and the catacombs were used as an ossuary to solve that issue. 

The creation of the catacombs was the most ambitious architectural project of its day and was overseen by famed architect Claude-Nicolas Ledoux. Not long after their creation, the catacombs became a site of macabre and unusual events from concerts to poetry readings and secret meetings. Starting in 1874, they were opened to public visitation, and since 2013 they have been managed by the Paris Musées. 

Good to know about the Paris Catacombs

Unfortunately, the Paris Catacombs are not disability accessible due to the underground location. The city also does not recommend that those with heart or respiratory issues, pregnant women, young children or those with other sensory issues visit the catacombs. Strollers are not permitted. 

The trip requires climbing 131 steps down and 112 back up, and overall it takes about an hour to go through the tour. It's a constant, cool 14°C in the caverns. Suitcases and large bags are prohibited, and there is no coat check. Food, drink and flash photography are prohibited.

Paris Catacombs

Location: 1 Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, 75014 Paris, France

Open: (Tours by appointment only)

Phone: +33 (0)1 43 22 47 63