Search over 1 million properties and 550 airlines worldwide
Free cancellation on most hotels. Because flexibility matters.
At a temperature of 14 degrees Celcius, the Paris Catacombs get chilly, even in summer, so grab a jacket before descending 130 steps and winding through an eerie series of tunnels leading to an 18th century graveyard. The site is located beneath its unassuming entrance on Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, and stretches more than a mile beneath the tree-lined boulevards above. Upon entry, visitors are warned; “Arrête, c’est ici l’empire de la mort” (Stop! This is the empire of death!).
The Paris Catacombs in fact originated as a very practical solution to a serious sanitation problem. In the late 1700s, the Cimetière des Saints-Innocents , Paris’s largest cemetery, became overcrowded, leading to the spread of diseases through contaminated water. From 1785 to 1860, a project to exhume Parisian bones from local cemeteries was carried out, with the skeletons being ferried to a nearby disused quarry. The skeletons of around six million Parisians were transferred. Initially bones were just thrown into corridors, but in 1810, the bones needed to be arranged in an orderly fashion, and were stacked neatly and decoratively.
Today, visitors can peruse the displayed remains, with bones – some more than a century old – forming ornamental walls and sculptures. Intricately carved works by eighteenth century army veteran and quarryman Decure adorn the Port-Mahon corridor. Other features include the Samaritan Woman’s Fountain - a spring walled with bones, the large cross and altar at the Sacellum Crypt, and the Sepulchral Lamp – a fire bowl used to light the way of the quarrymen at work.
Allow an hour to wander through the tunnels, which are open every day except Mondays. Adults must accompany children under the age of 14.
To avoid congestion down in the caverns, the number of visitors entering the Catacombs is limited to 200 at any time, leading to long queues above, so it’s best to arrive early. The Catacombs open every day except Monday and public holidays. First admission is at 10 a.m. but queues start to form well before then. Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult. The tour takes around 45 minutes to complete, and is concluded with a bag check, to make sure all of the bones remain underground!
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 10 minutes. Saint-Michel Station and Paris Saint-Michel - Notre Dame Station are within a 2-minute walk.
Located in 14th Arrondissement, this hotel is within 2 miles (3 km) of Paris Catacombs, Tour Montparnasse and Luxembourg Gardens. Parc Montsouris and Cochin Hospital are also within 1 mile (2 km). Mouton-Duvernet Station is 6 minutes by foot and Alésia Metro Station is 6 minutes.
Located in 14th Arrondissement, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Tour Montparnasse, Bourdelle Museum and Paris Catacombs. Eiffel Tower and Galeries Lafayette are also within 3 mi (5 km). Pernety Station and Paris Montparnasse-Pasteur Station are within a 5-minute walk.
Located in 14th Arrondissement, this hotel is within 2 miles (3 km) of Paris Catacombs, Tour Montparnasse and Luxembourg Gardens. Parc Montsouris and Cochin Hospital are also within 2 miles (3 km). Alésia Metro Station is 6 minutes by foot and Porte d'Orleans Station is 8 minutes.
Located in Montparnasse, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Paris Catacombs and Luxembourg Gardens. Notre-Dame and Champs-Elysees are also within 3 mi (5 km). Edgar Quinet Metro Station is only a 2-minute walk and Vavin Metro Station is 4 minutes.
Located in 12th Arrondissement, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Jardin des Plantes and AccorHotels Arena. Notre-Dame and Centre Pompidou are also within 2 mi (3 km). Paris Gare de Lyon is only a 4-minute walk and Gare de Lyon Station is 6 minutes.
Situated in Montrouge, this residence is within 2 miles (3 km) of Parc Montsouris, Paris Catacombs and Paris Expo Porte de Versailles. Tour Montparnasse and Luxembourg Gardens are also within 3 miles (5 km). Mairie de Montrouge Station is 8 minutes by foot and Malakoff - Plateau de Vanves Station is 15 minutes.
Located in Montparnasse, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Tour Montparnasse, Le Bon Marche and Necker-Enfants Malades Hospital. Paris Catacombs and Luxembourg Gardens are also within 1 mile (2 km). Montparnasse - Bienvenue Station is only a 2-minute walk and Edgar Quinet Metro Station is 3 minutes.