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Paris Catacombs
Vacation Travel Guide

Paris Catacombs featuring a cemetery, a memorial and signage

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 things to do in Paris Catacombs

Top Hotels Close to Paris Catacombs

Hotel Europe Saint Severin Paris
Hotel Europe Saint Severin Paris
3 out of 5
38-40 Rue Saint Séverin, Paris, Paris
The price is ¥6,652 per night from Apr 18 to Apr 19
Located in Paris City Center, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Ile de la Cite and Sainte Chapelle. Notre-Dame and Sorbonne University are also within ...
4.4/5Wonderful! (989 reviews)
Best location and a comfortable hotel
"Great location, one of my favourites, right near the St Michel station with direct access to the airport, main metro lines and train to Versailles. Had the premium room which was a bit bigger than the standard closet-sized ones and featured a small balcony where we could enjoy food and drinks. Very ..."

Reviewed on Sep 23, 2020

Hotel Europe Saint Severin Paris
Hôtel du Lion
Hôtel du Lion
2 out of 5
1 Avenue du General Leclerc, Paris, Paris
The price is ¥9,935 per night from Apr 19 to Apr 20
Located in 14th Arrondissement, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Paris Catacombs, Cochin Hospital, and Parc Montsouris. Luxembourg Gardens and Tour Montparnasse ...
4.1/5Very Good! (401 reviews)
Friendly front, sad breakfast & room
"People at the front desk were all super friendly. But the room was small and a bit noisy. What was saddest was the breakfast. Coffee, juice, and breads were available but nothing else... The simplest breakfast I've ever had in France."

Reviewed on Mar 9, 2020

Hôtel du Lion
Novotel Paris Les Halles
Novotel Paris Les Halles
4 out of 5
8 Place Marguerite De Navarre, Paris, Paris
The price is ¥19,989 per night from Apr 23 to Apr 24
This family-friendly Paris hotel is located in the historical district, steps from Forum des Halles, Les Halles, and Rue de Rivoli. Centre Pompidou and Hotel ...
4.5/5Wonderful! (1,345 reviews)
"good hotel and service in general, this is recommended."

Reviewed on Oct 13, 2020

Novotel Paris Les Halles
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.

Popular places to visit in Paris Catacombs

Paris Catacombs

Best Lodging Options Near Paris Catacombs

Hotel Europe Saint Severin Paris
Hotel Europe Saint Severin Paris
3 out of 5
38-40 Rue Saint Séverin, Paris, Paris
The price is ¥6,652 per night from Apr 18 to Apr 19
Hotel Europe Saint Severin Paris
Hôtel du Lion
Hôtel du Lion
2 out of 5
1 Avenue du General Leclerc, Paris, Paris
The price is ¥9,935 per night from Apr 19 to Apr 20
Hôtel du Lion
Novotel Paris Les Halles
Novotel Paris Les Halles
4 out of 5
8 Place Marguerite De Navarre, Paris, Paris
The price is ¥19,989 per night from Apr 23 to Apr 24
Novotel Paris Les Halles
Hôtel du Midi Paris Montparnasse
Hôtel du Midi Paris Montparnasse
3 out of 5
4 Avenue René Coty, Paris, Paris
The price is ¥11,118 per night from Apr 17 to Apr 18
Hôtel du Midi Paris Montparnasse
Hotel Floridor
Hotel Floridor
28 Place Denfert-Rochereau, Paris
Hotel Floridor
Hôtel Istria Paris
Hôtel Istria Paris
3 out of 5
29 rue Campagne Première, Paris, Paris
The price is ¥5,796 per night from Apr 21 to Apr 22
Hôtel Istria Paris
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
Hôtel Des Grands Hommes
Hôtel Des Grands Hommes
3 out of 5
17 Place Du Panthéon, Paris, Paris
The price is ¥12,774 per night from Apr 25 to Apr 26
Hôtel Des Grands Hommes
Alerte Bien Rare ! Grand Studio Avec Terrasse
Alerte Bien Rare ! Grand Studio Avec Terrasse
Paris, Ile-de-France
Alerte Bien Rare ! Grand Studio Avec Terrasse
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.