Healthy Family | Home Safety | Health and Wealth | Relationship Issues | Career Advice | Growing Family
Get the SixWise e-Newsletter FREE!
Google Web
Free Newsletter Subscription
Get the Web's Most trusted & Informative Health, Wealth, Safety & More Newsletter -- FREE!


Share Email to a Friend Print This

The Catacombs of Paris: Unusual & Interesting Tourist Destinations

A sign at the entranceway to the Catacombs of Paris reads "Arrete, c'est l'empire de la mort," which, in English means "Stop! This is the empire of death."


The bones of 6 million people are stacked below the streets of Paris in the Catacombs.

Not the most inviting words, but they don't stop tourists from trekking down 100 feet into Paris' underground labyrinth of tunnels and catacombs. The catacombs (les Catacombes) contain the remains of up to 6 million people, whose bones were transferred from overcrowded cemeteries to the underground caverns in the late 1700s.

Today tourists can walk through the walls of bones, some arranged into eerie patterns, and read various plaques with everything from morbid sayings to requests for prayer.

185 Miles of Tunnels

The catacombs are actually only a small part of the Paris underground, which includes 185 miles of tunnels, most of which are old quarries from Roman times, from which limestone was dug to build the city.


Only a small section of the catacombs are open to the public. It's illegal, and dangerous, to explore the rest of the 185-mile underground maze.

Aside from the guided catacomb tours, the underground network is off-limits to the public, and has been so since 1955. A special unit of Parisian police circulates the tunnels, but secret groups known as "cataphiles" or "urban explorers" are known to frequent the maze, holding secret parties. And, in 2004, a fully functioning cinema, bar and restaurant were even discovered in one of the underground caves, set up there by an urban explorer group called The Perforating Mexican.

The catacombs were also known to house an array of people throughout history, from 13th-century bandits in hiding to sorcerers who are said to have used the area for black masses during the 1348 plague, to resistance fighters who hid there during World War II.

Want to Visit the Catacombs of Paris?

The entrance is located at 1 place Denfert-Rochereau, Paris, France. But you can get more information from perusing these helpful sites:

Recommended Reading

The Tunnels of Cu Chi in Vietnam: Unusual & Interesting Tourist Destinations

Twelve of the World's Most Dangerous Countries: A Very Brief Tour


CBS News: Paris' Secret Underworld

Guardian Unlimited: In a secret Paris cavern, the real underground cinema

To get more information about this and other highly important topics, sign up for your free subscription to our weekly "Be Safe, Live Long & Prosper" e-newsletter.

With every issue of the free newsletter, you’ll get access to the insights, products, services, and more that can truly improve your well-being, peace of mind, and therefore your life!

Share Email to a Friend Print This