Beneath the streets of Paris lies a labyrinth of tunnels known as the catacombs. These tunnels are filled with roughly 6 million Parisian skeletons from the 18th and 19th centuries. A visit to the catacombs of Paris is a very surreal but amazing experience! We highly recommend it!
In this post, you will find everything you need to know for a visit to the catacombs of Paris.
In 1777, the King’s Architect, Charles-Axel Guillaumot, was tasked with stabilizing the tunnels to save the city from collapse. During your visit, you will see carvings on the walls with dates and numbers.
These numbers show the number of attempts it took to stabilize that particular space.
At the same time, Paris was growing and prospering, becoming one of the most heavily populated cities. Its rapid growth caused cemeteries to overflow. There wasn’t enough space to bury the dead. Paris started to smell quite badly of decomposing bodies, and it posed a huge health hazard.
By 1785, the tunnels were stable, and the remains of the dead were transferred into them. This transfer of bones lasted throughout the French Revolution and until 1859.
The catacombs of Paris were opened to the public in 1809. It was a popular attraction amongst the rich.
You will see signs with commemorative plaques, and bones arranged into various shapes. Honestly, it’s creepy. It felt like the skulls were staring at us! It was a very surreal but amazing experience.
The tour of the catacombs takes around 1 hour.
How to get there
You can easily get there by metro from anywhere in Paris. Other options are by bus or taxi.
This is the only legal entrance to the Catacombs. However, the part of the catacombs that is open to the public is a small part of the entire complex and there are secret entries all over the city.
It is illegal to enter the catacombs without an official guide through these secret entrances.
Tickets and Opening hours
The catacombs are open from Tuesday – Sunday from 9.45 am – 8.30 pm.
You can book tickets to the catacombs in advance online, or you can buy them at the desk. You can also buy tickets on the same day online if they are available (this is cheaper). We booked tickets in advance which we recommend!
The price for a ticket with audioguide is 29 €. The price for a last-minute ticket is 18 €.
Other things to know
- There are no toilets in the catacombs.
- Wear a pullover; the average temperature in the catacombs is 14°C.
- You will have to walk down 131 steps and climb 112 steps back up. There is no elevator.
- It’s not allowed to touch the bones.
- You can’t use Flashlight to take pictures.
- If you have a backpack, you will have to carry it in front of you so that you don’t touch the bones.
- The number of site visitors is limited to 200.