Stories and legends from the Paris Catacombs
"Stop! This is the Empire of the Dead!" warns the greeting sign at the Catacombs, Paris' ancient tunnel network turned mass tomb. Only parts of it are open to the public, and the rest is rife with Parisian rebellion, romance, and idealism!
1. Moving the dead
18th century Parisian cemeteries were so full that they were spoiling the city's wine and milk! Soon after, six million bodies were transferred to the city's ancient underground quarries.
2. Ghosts and smugglers
People have long believed the Catacombs to be haunted. Most accounts can probably be attributed to smugglers making ghastly noises to scare citizens into staying out!
3. Shaping the city
Since the network of underground tunnels is so vast, it's hard to dig deep foundations for new buildings. That's why Paris is counted among the most low-lying capital cities.
4. Vive La Resistance!
The French Resistance used the Catacombs to hide from the Nazis, who struggled to infiltrate them since they didn't have maps. One urban legend tells of a military unit vanishing into thin air!
5. Secret cinema
People often enter the Catacombs illegally to party or paint murals. An entire cinema was even discovered. The electricity had been cut, with a note saying "Don't try to find us!"
Planning Your Visit
Best time to go
If you want to avoid waiting for hours, your best bet is to book your tour in advance and skip the ticket line. Failing that, arriving 30 minutes to an hour before it opens (Tuesdays to Sundays from 10:00AM to 8:00PM) will cut the wait significantly.
How long does it take?
A good (legal!) tour of the Catacombs should take two to three hours.
What to wear
The chances of getting dirty are high, so dress down and wear comfortable shoes. Rest assured that there'll be at least six million people down there looking worse than you do!
Good to know
- When should I visit?
- Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 AM-8:30 PM
Holiday hours may vary
- Is it expensive?
- €10 entry for the Catacombs and the exhibition, which can be combined with entry to the crypt for €15 altogether.
- Will I need a guide?
- It will definitely help. It's worth checking out our best-selling tours.
- How to get there
- Denfert-Rochereau, accessible on metro line 2 as well as RER B, is the nearest station.
- Additional information
- *Wear good walking shoes, but fancy clothing is not recommended!
*Last entry is at 7:00PM
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What people are saying about Paris Catacombs
Was not busy at all, so we would have been fine without a pre-purchased ticket. I'm sure that later in the season you would absolutely need to pre-buy a ticket. The audio guide was really necessary to have. The stairs were not nearly as bad as I expected.
Cool experience in Paris. I would recommend checking out the Catacombs and buying skip the line tickets in advance, as same day tickets can get sold out. The whole trip took us around an hour and you get an audio guide included in your ticket.
This is a must see if you are in Paris! We did an audio/self guided tour and spent about an hour and a half. It’s chilly and dark and there are a lot of stairs at the entrance and exit so be aware! You will feel the burn! Totally worth it!
The attraction should definitely be booked in advance. No tickets are available on site. Interesting audio guide tour for an unusual Parisian attraction.
Excellent guide! Love her style! Explained very well! Just had a great visit and tour!!!!