The Paris catacombs are a network of meandering tunnels that extend beneath one of the most famous cities in the world and are home to some 6 million carefully preserved human skeletons. Is it surprising that the thought of seeing the Paris catacombs has mesmerised people for ages given that description?
This is a location where centuries’ worth of Parisian dead have been laid to rest, where countless illegal parties have taken place, and where reports of the deaths and disappearances of intrepid explorers are frequently heard. It’s also a location that, when done safely and lawfully, is tremendously easy to explore and fascinating.
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Here are the steps and supplies you need to take the Paris Catacombs Tour:
Wear casual attire and bring a jacket
The Paris catacombs are not the place for sundresses because they are always a cool 14 Celsius / 57 Fahrenheit and are frequently a little damp as well. Keep in mind that the catacombs lack the same paving as the streets above. The ground is uneven, wet, and occasionally frigid.
Layer your clothing or bring a jacket. You should stay inside and stay warm even though it may be hot outside. You might also want to put on a pair of closed-toed, flat shoes. Tennis shoes or hiking boots are excellent options because they will keep your feet clean and provide you with enough traction on slippery surfaces.
Avoid bringing heavy baggage with you
No items larger than 40 cm x 30 cm are permitted inside, and there is no on-site luggage storage. The catacombs ask that you carry your backpacks either by hand or in front of you as opposed to how you normally do.
Take images by carrying a camera
Please Feel Free to take pictures. You are permitted to take as many photographs as you like even if you are not permitted to touch the remains inside the catacombs or to make rubbings of the inscriptions.
Although illuminated, the catacombs are hardly visible. In some places, you’ll wish to use your flash. Smartphone pictures will suffice, but if you have a better camera, bring it along. You should photograph the distinctive brickwork and carvings scattered among the ruins.
At the end of your Paris Catacombs tour, you can purchase some professional-quality photos if you don’t have a camera or if you’d want some.
Utilise a Backpack
The managers are aware of how challenging it can be to carry all of your gear through the tunnels. You are permitted to bring a bag, pocketbook, or backpack into the catacombs, but be prepared for a search of your stuff.
Just be aware that your bag will be checked when your trip is over. Vandals and travellers searching for distinctive keepsakes frequently attempt to smuggle away remains in their baggage. Every bag is therefore extensively inspected. You can receive a ticket if they discover bones in your bag. Most of the time, though, the staff will just take the bones back and let you go.
Keep a printout of the ticket with you
Make sure to print a copy of your ticket if you decide to purchase one in advance and bring it with you. Physical tickets are required for entry to the catacombs; if you don’t print yours out, you might need to purchase another one there.
Additionally, make a plan before going to the Paris Catacombs! The popularity of the catacombs is growing. This implies that they receive more daily visitors.
Paris limits entrance to 200 persons at a time in order to preserve the catacombs and the remains buried within. This implies that unless you acquire a ticket in advance, you might have to wait in line to buy one. You might be able to completely avoid the line by ordering in advance.
Purchase a skip-the-line pass
If you want to visit the Paris catacombs on your own, we suggest purchasing a skip-the-line ticket here for the date of your choice. However, keep in mind that these tickets frequently sell out far in advance, so the earlier you can purchase them, the better.
You’ll be given time to visit the catacombs in Paris, and when that time comes, you may just go through the crowds of people waiting in line (which is frequently very long) and enter the catacombs.
An audio guide is included with the skip-the-line tickets listed below, which is really helpful and gives the experience a lot of context. If it is not already included in your ticket, an audio guide can be purchased for 5 Euros on-site.
Wheelchair accessibility is not available in Paris’s catacombs
When visiting the Paris catacombs, one must descend 131 steps, then traverse 1.5 km on fairly uneven, damp, and narrow terrain, before ascending another 112 steps to reach the street level.
The Paris catacombs are probably not the proper place for you if you can’t easily do it.
The subway is the most practical method of getting to the catacombs, like most destinations in Paris.
Just outside the Denfert-Rochereau metro stop is where you’ll find the entrance to the Paris catacombs. It’s in a fairly modern-looking, unremarkable building that gives no indication of the fascinating place that lies beneath it.
What to Expect on a Guided Tour of the Paris Catacombs?
Your adventure will start at a low-key black gate near the Paris Catacombs entrance, which is easily recognized by the long lines of people waiting in front of it. Come here to meet your tour guide, who will drive you to the tour’s starting location.
Before reaching the main area, you must descend 131 stairs and go nearly 20 meters below the level of the streets of Paris, via a labyrinth of confined passageways, stone sculpture galleries, and a museum. An etched warning is carved into the door lintel, saying “Arrête! This is the Empire of the Dead,” or “Stop!” The dead hold sway here.
Once inside the Catacombs, a strange aroma that hangs in the air is typically the first thing that guests notice. Although some have described the odor as dusty and reminiscent of old stone churches, the Catacombs’ contents are clearly to blame for it.
Although there are a lot of skulls and bones on exhibit, the patterns in which the skeletal remains of millions of Parisians have been organized generally leave visitors in awe. There are skulls and femur bones heaped up in towers, crosses, and symmetrical arrangements. These elaborately crafted “items of wonder” are over six feet tall and line the tunnels’ meandering passageways on all sides.
It is strictly enforced that no more than 200 people can enter or leave the Catacombs at any given time. There will be times when you find yourself alone, sharing space with only the dead, and not too many other people nearby, allowing you to explore the Catacombs in solitude. Visitors enter the Catacombs at 1 Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy and exit about 500 meters later at Rue Rémy Dumoncel after ascending approximately 112 stairs.
So, on the off-chance, you are going to take the Paris Catacombs tour, make sure you go through this list and carry all the things mentioned. Be prepared for a once-in-a-lifetime spooky touring experience. Bon Voyage!