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Paris Catacombs
Vacation Travel Guide

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.

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Top Hotels Close to Paris Catacombs

K+K Hotel Cayre Paris
K+K Hotel Cayre Paris
4 out of 5
4 Boulevard Raspail, Paris, Paris
The price is CA $159 per night from Jan 21 to Jan 22

Located in Paris City Center, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Orsay Museum and Le Bon Marche. Tuileries Garden and Saint-Sulpice Church are also within ...

4.4/5Excellent! (996 reviews)

"Fantastic stay, extremely helpful staff and great location! The staff made our stay, so friendly, excellent English and helped us with everything we needed! Nothing was ever too much to ask!"…"

Reviewed on Aug. 17, 2020

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Hotel Eiffel Turenne
Hotel Eiffel Turenne
3 out of 5
20 Avenue De Tourville, Paris, Paris
Free cancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is CA $86 per night from Jan 31 to Feb 1

Located in Paris City Center, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Rue Cler and Les Invalides. Champ de Mars and Eiffel Tower are also within 15 minutes. ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (839 reviews)

"Great location and excellent staff! The room is comfortable and so are the beds. Wish it had a fridge."…"

Reviewed on Sep. 12, 2020

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Hôtel Mistral
Hôtel Mistral
3 out of 5
24 rue Cels, Paris, Paris
The price is CA $130 per night from Jan 25 to Jan 26

Located in Montparnasse, this hotel is 0.5 mi (0.8 km) from Paris Catacombs and within 3 mi (5 km) of Pantheon and Sainte Chapelle. Palais Royal and Eiffel Tower ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (375 reviews)
Highly recommended

"Stayed in about 3 hotels in Paris area, this by far was the best hotel. If I visit Paris again, this is the place where I will stay"…"

Reviewed on Apr. 1, 2020

Hôtel Mistral
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

K+K Hotel Cayre Paris
K+K Hotel Cayre Paris
4 out of 5
4 Boulevard Raspail, Paris, Paris
The price is CA $159 per night from Jan 21 to Jan 22
K+K Hotel Cayre Paris
Hotel Eiffel Turenne
Hotel Eiffel Turenne
3 out of 5
20 Avenue De Tourville, Paris, Paris
The price is CA $86 per night from Jan 31 to Feb 1
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Hôtel Mistral
Hôtel Mistral
3 out of 5
24 rue Cels, Paris, Paris
The price is CA $130 per night from Jan 25 to Jan 26
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Hotel Trianon Rive Gauche
Hotel Trianon Rive Gauche
4 out of 5
3, Rue de Vaugirard, 6th Arrondissement, Paris
The price is CA $151 per night from Feb 18 to Feb 19
Hotel Trianon Rive Gauche
Hôtel du Lion
Hôtel du Lion
2 out of 5
1 Avenue du General Leclerc, Paris, Paris
The price is CA $117 per night from Jan 28 to Jan 29
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Hotel Floridor
Hotel Floridor
28 Place Denfert-Rochereau, Paris
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Hôtel du Midi Paris Montparnasse
Hôtel du Midi Paris Montparnasse
3 out of 5
4 Avenue René Coty, Paris, Paris
The price is CA $132 per night from Feb 2 to Feb 3
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Amazing 3BR by the Catacombes, easy reach of the Palace of Versailles, by Veeve
Amazing 3BR by the Catacombes, easy reach of the Palace of Versailles, by Veeve
Paris, Ile-de-France
Amazing 3BR by the Catacombes, easy reach of the Palace of Versailles, by Veeve
Enjoy Hostel
Enjoy Hostel
5 Rue Des Plantes, Paris, Paris
The price is CA $190 per night from Feb 1 to Feb 2
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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.