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“hauntingly great experience”

The Catacombs of Paris
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Skip the Line: Catacombs of Paris Small-Group Walking Tour
Ranked #57 of 1,253 things to do in Paris
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Owner description: A genuine labyrinth in the heart of underground Paris, the Catacombs were fitted out in the galleries of former quarries. Twenty metres underground, the ossuary houses the remains of approximately six million Parisians, gradually transferred between the end of the 18th century and the mid 19th century, as the capital's cemeteries were closed for health reasons. Along a tangle of dark galleries, visitors discover a presentation of death with bones arranged in a romantic macabre decor. This unique site is a moving testimony to the history of Parisians and invites visitors on a timeless journey.
Reviewed January 8, 2013

i enjoyed touring the catacombs. We got there early, before the doors opened. As we waited for the opening, the line did get quite long. There are a many small steps down to the entrance, so keep this in mind as you will need to be physically able to manuever them. Once down in the catacombs, be aware it can be wet and water may also drip on you. Small puddles are common. It was interesting and also eerie, but something I will never forget. Read up on the history beforehand so you know why all the bones are down there. Enjoy!

5  Thank bikefamkoppa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,604 - 3,608 of 5,933 reviews

Reviewed January 7, 2013

we arrived at the back of the line at about 10.30am ...... we got in at 1pm! but wow was it worth the wait!
yes the line gets very long - and as the attraction only allows a max of 200 people in at any one time it works on a one in one out basis...... but with a lot of small bars and bistros in the area and a lot of people and cars to watch it isnt too bad!
Be warned, there are no toilets in the attraction and i couldnt find any near by so dont drink too much.....!

the attraction itself is accessed via a long spiral stair case ... there is then about 500m of darkish tunnels to walk through. these can get very low in places - i am very tall (6'6) but they were even low for people of 5'5!

after about 10 mins of walking, you reach the 'graves' .... im not sure 'Graves' is the right word as it is more like art work with bones piled from floor to ceiling ... i expected it to feel weird but it really didnt .... it had a warm comfortable feeling.

in total there was about a KM of 'bone tunnels' and all i can really say is that they were amazing ... really not what i expected but well worth the long wait!

4  Thank Lawrence3178
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 7, 2013

I visited the Parisian catacombs during the holidays with my girlfriend. Having seen many pictures and having read many reviews of other travellers, I was very excited to honour this place with a visit.

We arrived at opening time, just to find out there was an enormous queue waiting to enter the catacombs. The staff only let in a limited amount of visitors. We waited for an hour and fifteen minutes, before we were able to start our visit.

Before entering the empire of the dead itself, a panel informs the visitors what is allowed and what is not. The use of a camera flash is, obviously, prohibited due to reasons of conservation of the bones. I didn't see ANY sign of a tripod being prohibited, not at the entrance of the museum overground, not underground. So i was happy to unpack my tripod, looking forward to taking great pictures. I set up at a spot where I was not blocking any other visitors. A guard passed me without making a remark, so I was confident i could do some great photography.

In the meanwhile many people were ignoring the flash prohibition and used their flashes.

When i was set up and took a photo, another guard walked up to me, saying that tripods are forbidden and I should pack up. I answered him, in French, that there was no sign that prohibited the use of tripods and asked him to show such a sign to me. He ignored me, said that it was the house rule and walked away. Disgusted, I packed up my tripod and finished the walk, annoyed by all the people using their camera flash.

Despite the negative photography experience I enjoyed the walk itself, although many parts were closed of due to muddy and wet areas.

One should make up for himself if it is worth to wait for more than one hour to see huge piles of bones and skulls. Since there are not many other sightings in the neighbourhood, one loses quickly valuable time which could be spend visiting other things.

2  Thank Mon V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 6, 2013

The Catacombs are a must for everyone who digs history and likes to do something different in Paris.

The place is not creepy at all but keep in mind you'll be surrounded by millions of skulls and bones in an underground system of tunnels so if you are easily scared don't go!

The Catacombs are an important part of the history of Paris. It's said that more than 6 million parisians are buried there. They are a magical place, calmed, stripped off from the chaotic and fast paced way of living from Paris. It is mystical and deep, a place where you can go to think and relax a little. There are lots of interesting quotes carved in the walls so take a flashlight with you.

Art is also there in the Catacombs: you will be able to appreciate the sculpted stone, the figures and the ways the bones and skulls are placed, sometimes in the shape of crosses or hearts.

The line to get in can be very, very long and could take more than even the Eiffel Tower. Prices are EUR 8 or EUR 4 if you are under 26.

Go to this place if you like history and like to see Paris in a different way.

2  Thank neocmjc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 4, 2013

If you're looking for a very unusual site to visit in Paris, this is it. Very few places in the world use human remains in the "decorative" fashion of the 19th-century developers of this ossuary-in-a-quarry. The history behind it is unique (and uniquely Parisian), but the walking experience is mostly dominated by the fascinatingly morbid.

Be warned about the lines: if you are in Paris during a peak period they will be very long. We would recommend trying to go at an off peak period, and in any case arriving very early (maybe 45 minutes before opening time) and you will still have to wait. We couldn't avoid the peak season, and went on January 2, and here was our timing:

9:15 arrived at entrance. About 50 people already in line in front of us.
10:00 am Staff arrived.
10:09 am Admissions began. By this time there were a good 300-400 people behind us, in a line that stretched around the block
10:30 am We got to the front and bought our tickets.
11:35 am Finished the tour.

Practical advice: wear waterproof and sturdy footwear (some of the tunnel floors are wet and a bit slippery). A flashlight is not strictly necessary but a good idea for seeing the details, and the darker corners. Flash photography is forbidden, so if you have a camera that does well in low-light conditions, bring that.

Note there are many (130 stairs) and no elevator. Also no restrooms and no food or drink.

10  Thank HK_Observer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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