Paris Catacombs

Vacation Travel Guide
Paris Catacombs which includes heritage elements

This chilling underground graveyard opened as a tourist attraction in 1874, and houses the remains of more than 6 million Parisians.

With its eerily ornate bone formations, the Paris Catacombs seems like some macabre artwork but it actually spawned from practicality. Overcrowded graveyards in the late 1700s were causing health problems in the city, including the spread of disease through contaminated water. From 1786 to 1814, the exhumed bones from the city’s cemeteries were transferred to the abandoned underground limestone quarries, and the result is the haunting catacombs. The passageways are more than a mile long (1.6 kilometers), with wall-to-wall skeletal remains neatly arranged around memorial plaques. The bones are arranged according to bone type – skulls, femurs, tibias. Some bones are more than a century old, with some that date back to the French Revolution.

Visitors enter in the 14th arrondissement, descend underground via 130 steps and then wind through the low-ceilinged, dimly lit tunnels. The walls feature intricate carvings, known as the Sculptures of Decure. Dating back to 1777, the works were created by Decure, an army veteran and quarry inspector, who perished when a sinkhole opened on an upper level of the tunnel.

Rent a personalized audio tour, which walks you through the winding passages and provide background on some of the ossuary’s highlights. These include the Fountain of Samaritan, a small spring encircled by a wall of bones. The oldest artifact in the catacombs is the Sepulchral Lamp, which was lit by quarrymen working in the corridors.

Allow an hour to wander through the tunnels, which are open every day except Mondays. Adults must accompany children under the age of 14.

The entrance to the Paris Catacombs is nondescript, tucked away in a patch of trees on the Place Denfert-Rochereau. Be prepared to wait an hour or more in line to enter the catacombs. Take a sweater as it gets cold underground even in summer. It can also be slippery so take care, especially on the many stairs in and out of the tunnels. Stay on track, as you don’t want to find yourself lost in the further 180 miles (290 kilometers) of quarry tunnels. There is paid parking nearby, and public transportation stops nearby as well.

Top Hotels Close to Paris Catacombs

Hotel Derby Eiffel
Hotel Derby Eiffel
3 out of 5
5 Avenue Duquesne Paris Franc, Paris, Paris
The price is $139 per night from Nov 14 to Nov 14
Located in Paris City Center, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Rue Cler, Les Invalides, and UNESCO Headquarters. American University of Paris and Rue ...
3.8/5 Good! (983 reviews)
"Great little hotel , very clean , pleasant staff & super comfy beds !!!"

Reviewed on Sep 29, 2021

Hotel Derby Eiffel
K+K Hotel Cayre Paris
K+K Hotel Cayre Paris
4 out of 5
4 Boulevard Raspail, Paris, Paris
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is $210 per night from Oct 24 to Oct 24
Located in Paris City Center, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Rue de Rennes, Orsay Museum, and Le Bon Marche. Saint-Sulpice Church and Tuileries Garden ...
4.4/5 Excellent! (971 reviews)
"Staff is very supportive. You cannot beat the location. The room was hreat. Perfect view of Eifle tower... hreat casual and high end restraunts near by. Walking distance to all the sites"

Reviewed on Sep 17, 2021

K+K Hotel Cayre Paris
Victoria Palace Hotel Paris
Victoria Palace Hotel Paris
4 out of 5
6 Rue Blaise-Desgoffe, Paris, Paris
The price is $199 per night from Nov 14 to Nov 14
Located in Paris City Center, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Le Bon Marche and Luxembourg Gardens. Les Invalides and Paris Catacombs are also ...
4.8/5 Exceptional! (48 reviews)
"A very nice restored to a fashionable and modern hotel The location was good we love it"

Reviewed on Oct 15, 2021

Victoria Palace Hotel Paris
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Best Lodging Options Near Paris Catacombs

Hôtel Vacances Bleues Villa Modigliani
Hôtel Vacances Bleues Villa Modigliani
3 out of 5
13 rue Delambre, Paris, Paris
The price is $85 per night from Oct 24 to Oct 24
Hôtel Vacances Bleues Villa Modigliani
K+K Hotel Cayre Paris
K+K Hotel Cayre Paris
4 out of 5
4 Boulevard Raspail, Paris, Paris
The price is $210 per night from Oct 24 to Oct 24
K+K Hotel Cayre Paris
Hotel Derby Eiffel
Hotel Derby Eiffel
3 out of 5
5 Avenue Duquesne Paris Franc, Paris, Paris
The price is $139 per night from Nov 14 to Nov 14
Hotel Derby Eiffel
Victoria Palace Hotel Paris
Victoria Palace Hotel Paris
4 out of 5
6 Rue Blaise-Desgoffe, Paris, Paris
The price is $199 per night from Nov 14 to Nov 14
Victoria Palace Hotel Paris
Novotel Paris Les Halles
Novotel Paris Les Halles
4 out of 5
8 Place Marguerite De Navarre, Paris, Paris
The price is $219 per night from Nov 14 to Nov 14
Novotel Paris Les Halles
Hôtel du Lion
Hôtel du Lion
2 out of 5
1 Avenue du General Leclerc, Paris, Paris
The price is $143 per night from Oct 20 to Oct 20
Hôtel du Lion
Courtyard by  Marriott Paris Gare de Lyon
Courtyard by Marriott Paris Gare de Lyon
4 out of 5
209-211 Rue de Bercy, Paris
The price is $170 per night from Nov 14 to Nov 14
Courtyard by Marriott Paris Gare de Lyon
Hôtel du Midi Paris Montparnasse
Hôtel du Midi Paris Montparnasse
3 out of 5
4 Avenue René Coty, Paris, Paris
The price is $111 per night from Oct 21 to Oct 21
Hôtel du Midi Paris Montparnasse
Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel
Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel
4 out of 5
18 avenue de Suffren, Entrée au 22 rue Jean Rey, Paris, Paris
The price is $264 per night from Oct 22 to Oct 22
Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.