At the end of the 18th century the city’s authorities began to remove the bones of six million people from overcrowded cemeteries in order to store them in the network of ancient quarries which riddled the ground underneath Paris. These subterranean ossuaries were used right up until 1861 in order to limit the risk of spreading illness and disease. Shinbones and skulls were used to construct walls, and entire rooms were filled with bones in such a way that bore witness to the desire to both optimize space and respect the deceased from which they came.
Today, the Paris catacombs draw several hundred thousand visitors each year, through numerous Paris catacombs tours, who come to experience the thrill of descending into an unknown world, or who are simply curious to discover a place as unusual and mysterious as this. The entrance to the Catacombs of Paris tourist attraction is located in the Place Denfert-Rochereau in the 14th arrondissement. Here you are able to visit a tiny section of the gigantic subterranean labyrinth, which covers hundreds of kilometers below the city.
Book your place on a guided tour of the Paris Catacombs. Audio guides are available at the site in several languages for you to learn even more about the fascinating history of this timeless place, which appears almost to have come right out of an Allan Edgar Poe story. Regular exhibitions are organized around innovative themes relating to the Catacombs, such as the 2016 exhibition that was dedicated to the geological history of the caves in which the Catacombs in Paris are built.
Paris Catacombs - Skip the long line and get exclusive access to sections closed to the public
Delve into the history of WWII with a small group tour
Join an exciting exploration of Paris’ deepest darkest secrets at night on a 3-hour walking tour.