2011 Les Catacombes de Paris (Paris Catacombs)


We went to the Les Catacombes de Paris (Paris Catacombs) today. Sorry the pics are not the greatest but no flash allowed so had to use candle light setting. The line was incredible…..wrapped around the square and over 2 hours to get in. The question is…. Was it worth it? Hmmmmm yes…I have been before and found it interesting and moving but unsettling so I was not so sure I wanted to go again but the kids had not been so of course we went. I t is very interesting on an intellectual, historical and artistic level but let’s be honest it is still creepy to walk through hallways of bones lined up like bricks and stones.
So here are the facts…..in 1780 the Les Halle’s cemetery in Paris was closed because the walls of nearby buildings were collapsing and decomposing bodies were pouring into the basements. So it was decided that all human remains from all cemeteries needed to be removed and stored somewhere else. It was also decided that the quarry department was in charge of this…..I know it seems an unusual choice. Anyway they chose to store the remains in underground limestone quarries and The Viscount of Thury, quarries general inspector from 1808 until 1831 designed the plan. He created the entire artistic concept as a way to honor the remains. The remains were moved from the cemeteries only at night with black draped carts and priest to sanctify the transfer. They continued this practice until 1860. More than 6 millions skeletal remains are housed in the catacombs of Paris and it is the largest necropolis in the world.

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3 thoughts on “2011 Les Catacombes de Paris (Paris Catacombs)

  1. I thought about visiting last time I was in Paris but was turned off by the lines. Glad to hear you enjoyed it, I will have to check it out next time.

    1. I have been 6 times…the trick is to go on a weekday and get there very early. There will always be a line as they only allow about 20 or so people in at a time as it is a sacred place that is protected also some of the skeletal remain walls are a bit precarious. However if you do want to go but do not want to stand in line you can join a skip the line group. http://www.viator.com The fee is much higher but sometimes it is worth it if you do not have the time.

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