Les Catacombes

Address: 1 avenue du Colonel Rol-Tanguy, place Denfert-Rochereau, Paris, 75014, France
Telephone: 01 43 22 47 63

- Mid-range


Bones and skullduggery: Paris from underneath.

All sorts of myths surround the catacombs – the avid cataphiles who party down here at weekends, the likelihood of Paris apartments disappearing into holes, parties of lost tourists... The first two are true, the latter is not as the route is clearly set out but this is certainly one of the strangest and most atmospheric attractions in Paris. The catacombs were created in the late 18th century when the city's overcrowded cemeteries were cleared out and the skeletons transferred to a labyrinth of old stone quarries. Although macabre, somehow it is not particularly spooky – more of a place for reflecting on death, as the incredibly neatly piled stacks of long bones and rows of skulls are accompanied by philosophical quotations.

Value for money

Price advice

8 euros, free under 14, 4 euros 14-26. Under 14s must be accompanied by an adult.

Expert tips

There are often long queues as numbers are limited inside. Try to go on a weekday when queues are shorter.

Be prepared for 130 steps down and another 80 or so up again at the end, and wear warm clothing; the temperature down here is around 14°C.

Dark tunnels mean it's not for the claustrophobic.

Recommended for

  • Backpackers / Students
  • Culture vultures
  • Families with teenagers
  • Seasoned travellers
  • Education
  • History