When you think of Paris’ main attractions, you may first think of the Louvre and Eiffel Tower. The City of Light is a large metropolis full of bustling attractions. However, there is a darker side of Paris: The Catacombs. The largest necropolis in the world, the Paris Catacombs house the remains of more than six million bodies. To reach this iconic ossuary, you must first descend over 100 steps, reach 20 meters underground. Seeing the Catacombs is a great addition to your Paris adventure, but it can be difficult to do it alone. Follow this guide on how to visit the Paris Catacombs for the best experience.
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Paris Catacombs Hours
The Paris Catacombs are open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 8:30pm. You can enter no later than 7:30pm.
How to Get to the Paris Catacombs
The easiest way to get to the Catacombs is by metro. They are closest to the metro stop Denfert-Rochereau, which is accessible by lines 4, 6 and RER B. The Catacombs are across the street from the metro station, but if you take the RER it might be a little less obvious at first. Remember, the Catacombs are all underground, so there’s no big building or monument that serves as a marker. No matter which train line you take, you’ll only be a few minutes walk away.
Why take a guided tour?
During the peak summer months, guests can wait up to four hours in line to visit the Catacombs. This is because since the Catacombs are made up of a system of narrow underground channels, the site only allows 200 people underground at once. You can book tickets on the official Paris Catacombs site; however, the site is difficult to navigate and the experience almost guarantees a long wait time. For skip the lines access and an easy booking experience, join us on a guided Catacombs tour that will provide the best overview of Paris’ darkest attraction.
Highlights of the Paris Catacombs
To get a sense of what we cover in this tour, here are some of the highlights of the Paris Catacombs that you will learn all about.
Entrance to the Catacombs
When you enter the Paris Catacombs, you will immediately see a sign that reads, “Arrête, c’est ici l’empire de la mort.” This translate in English to, “Stop, this is death’s empire.” If being surrounded by millions of bones and skulls isn’t enough to make you feel scared.
The Copy of Paris
When you get underground, you’ll notice street signs labeling the streets just outside the entrance of the Catacombs. They denote where you’re currently standing, just 20 meters underground. Some of the street names are even outdated, showing you how old the Catacombs really are.
Crossroads with the Lower Catacombs
Cross from the upper Catacombs to the lower Catacombs via a support ramp. Go deeper into the underground channels while your guide goes into more mystic detail.
Barrel of Passion
In the midst of bones, skulls, skeletons and all things resembling death, meet the center of it all: the Barrel of Passion. In an area of the Catacombs called the Crypt of Passion, spot a barrel shape consisting of all bones and skulls. This eerie yet impressive display was made famous in 1897, when a night concert was held in the crypt. The concert featured Chopin’s Funeral March and the Danse Macabre by Camille Saint-Saens, and drew in an audience of over 100 people in the middle of the night.
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