I typically like to try to visit new countries rather than repeat. However, it had been something like 18 years since I had last visited.
After booking our flight, one site in the City of Love topped my list for a place I had to revisit. I needed to make a return visit to the Paris Catacombs, probably my favorite site in the city.
I’d say that my visit to the Paris Catacombs years back started my fascination with odd, creepy and ghoulish sites
Here are some related posts:
- The Mutter Museum: A Museum of Medical Oddities
- The Baksheesh Pays Off
- The International Museum of Surgical Sciences
- A Shocking Collection of Oddities: The Kuntskamera
- Meguro Parasitological Museum (In my Japan: Days 8 & 9 Tokyo post)
- The Skull Tower (In my Balkans Trip Recap of Nis, Serbia)
- 4,000 Skeletons at The Capuchin Crypt of Santa Maria della Concezione
- A Museum of Curiosities in Connecticut
- Ossuary at San Bernardino alla Ossa (In my Malta & Milan recap post)
- Skull & Bones at the Catacombs in Lima
- Visiting the Bog Bodies at the National Museum of Ireland
Before visiting, Kim and I debated whether or not it would be a good idea to pre-purchase tickets to avoid a potentially long line. After visiting, I wrote a post wondering, Is It Worth Paying 2X The Price To Skip The Line At The Paris Catacombs.Some things to know before visiting:
- To get into the catacombs, you’ll need to walk down 131 steps. To exit, you’ll go 112 steps up. It isn’t what I’d consider a very physical thing to do, but it won’t be for everyone.
- During your visit, you’ll follow though the catacombs on a 1.5km circuit.
- The exit for the catacombs is around 700 meters from where you enter.
- Large bags are not allowed and if you’re wearing a backpack, it’s supposed to be worn in front.
- Only 200 people are allowed inside at a time. This is a good thing, the catacombs never felt busy!
- DON’T TOUCH THE BONES
After waiting for close to two hours on line, we made our way down to the Paris Catacombs. Once you’re at the bottom, you’ll still need to walk a bit through long narrow corridors before finally reaching the intended main attraction.As you walk through the catacombs, you’ll see various street signs. The stacks of bones, which are neatly organized also have signs and dates in front of them. Our guess was that these are the dates of when the bones were brought to the catacombs from their original resting place. The first time you visit a site of this sort, you might be surprised or shocked at seeing skulls and bones in such quantity.
The thing is that they’re neatly arranged in an artistic way, making it feel much less shocking.The barrel of bones is probably the most unique site in all of the Paris Catacombs. It was also probably the busiest section inside. But as you can see, there still aren’t other visitors in the photo!Is the Paris Catacombs kid- friendly?
Neither Lucas (almost 7 years- old during the visit) or two year- old Theo were scared, nervous or bothered by the visit. They both seemed to really enjoy exploring the catacombs.
Overall, revisiting the Paris Catacombs didn’t disappoint. Even though I had been to the site before, I still loved visiting and was amazed by the sheer quantity of skulls and bones on display. (There are bones from between 6-7 million bodies inside.)
I’ve been to various catacombs and crypts around the world. In my opinion, the Paris Catacombs are the best of the bunch. (I’d probably place Sedlec Ossuary as the second best.)
If you end up in Paris at some point, I highly recommend visiting the Paris Catacombs. It will probably be the most unique thing you’ll see during your trip.
The Paris Catacombs is located at 1 av. of Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy 75014 Paris.