In 2014 I watched the movie, As Above, So Below, a thriller about a group of people looking for a precious stone in the Catacombs of Paris. This was the first time I had ever heard about this underground burial in the heart of Paris. Of course, I was very intrigued about it; reading more about what it was and how it formed, I knew that I wanted to go here.
As I walked in Paris looking for the Catacombs, I imagined reaching a very crowded entry, with lots of propaganda and even a long line, but it was nothing like that (perhaps it was the time of the day; I went at 1400 hours). My google maps kept indicating I had reached my destination, but I couldn’t find the precise location of the Catacombs. All I could see surrounding me were coffee shops, restaurants and a lot of traffic. Well, the building into the Catacombs is a green, unspectacular small looking “hut”. No wonder I couldn’t find it!!
The cost to enter the Catacombs was 13 Euros or if you have the Paris Pass, this will be honored here; they do offer a guided tour, which I did not partake in. Going down to the Catacombs is over 100 steps, spiral staircase at that, so please wear comfortable shoes. As I descended deeper and deeper down, I started to feel the air got thicker, almost like a moisty, mildew smell. A jacket is needed in the tunnels, as the temperature drops. Now, let me give you little history on what the Catacombs are:
The Catacombs are underground ossuaries in Paris, which hold more than six million remains of people . In 1774, the city of Paris became aware of space needed for the overcrowded cemeteries, and the solution became to transfer the corpses into century old tunnels, beneath the city of lights. In 1786, the bones of more than six million people began being transported into the catacombs at night, this task took 12 years. Human remains date back as far as 1,200 years. The bones are neatly stacked, be mindful that you are not allowed to touch them, even though there’s no barrier preventing you from it. Tourist are only allowed to walk through 1 mile of the catacombs, the entry to the rest are prohibited 🚫. One’s mind can only wonder what secrets are behind the restricted areas 🤔.