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“Do your own tour; some tour guides misinformed”
Review of The Catacombs

The Catacombs
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Skip-the-Line Admission Tickets : Eiffel Tower Summit and Catacombs
Ranked #56 of 1,120 things to do in Paris
Certificate of Excellence
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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.
Buffalo, New York
Level Contributor
15 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Do your own tour; some tour guides misinformed”
Reviewed March 11, 2013

For two people, we spent $67 US dollars to get tickets through VIATOR here in the states. So we avoided the long line waiting to get in. Our tour guide (in English) was pleasant but not knowledgeable. He was not schooled in French history and gave us some misinformation. Such as...........Louis XVI's bones are buried here. Or..........."the last time bodies were placed here was just after the French Revolution." We then saw signs telling us there were a number of bodies that were dumped there in 1859.

You can get just as much information (and possibly better information) by doing the tour yourself and reading the signs as you go along. Of course, it does help to know some French, since the inscriptions are in that language.

The only other advantage to having a tour guide is for warnings about watching your step. There are a lot of steps to climb and some uneven ground.

Visited February 2013
1 Thank saladays62
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Level Contributor
102 reviews
41 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 100 helpful votes
Reviewed March 10, 2013

Waited in line about an hour, got there early. €8 entrance, self guided. Many, many stairs to get to the bottom, and then many to get back out. Not allowed to use flash so pics didn't turn out well. Millions and millions of skeletons in the catacombs, truly mind blowing. Glad I went.

Visited March 2013
Thank Kim J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Coventry, England
Level Contributor
20 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Now 8 Euro”
Reviewed March 9, 2013 via mobile

This attraction is no longer free as advertised. It's ?8 as of March 2013. Interesting to see, but possibly not worh the queue or entry price.

Thank Martin_Coventry
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveler and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
1,635 reviews
714 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1,230 helpful votes
“Interesting but could be so much better and more informative”
Reviewed March 8, 2013

After deciding not to bother queuing during a trip to Paris 2 years ago, we arrived early one morning determined to visit the catacombs. Even though we arrived shortly after 10 there was still a fair size queue and we waited for just short of an hour, in a very slow moving queue.
I found the walk through the catacombs interesting but not fascinating. There are only a certain number of corridors lined with bones, which will amaze you. I must have reached my limit fairly early on! It was a shame that there wasn't more information posted around....perhaps the audio guide would have been beneficial? I came away with more knowledge of geological rock formations that history of the catacombs, which wasn't really my purpose for visiting. I've listed a couple of dos and donts if you are thinking of visiting.
Get there early
Wear sensible walking shoes
Bring a jacket
Pay with cash (€8 per adult).

Visit if you are claustrophobic
Visit if you are squeamish
Visit if you don't like the dark

Visited March 2013
Thank Travellover6128
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
55 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 104 helpful votes
“Lost the will to live”
Reviewed March 7, 2013

Never having been to the catacombs before, we decided to pay a visit during our two day stay. Arriving about 10:30 the queue had gone round the block, and it moved very, very, very slowly. When we got to the kiosk an hour later there was a counter showing a number in the 300's, presumably the number of people that have gone through the turnstile so far that day(but I only remember seeing one turnstile on coming back up) . We also learnt that the maximum number of people permitted down there was 200, but how they possibly keep count I have no idea (see above remark re turnstile).

We rented a couple of English audio guides. On reaching the bottom we were fed a lot of information of the geological formation of the Paris basin, which was way above my head. As the tunnels proper began we missed four points on the audio guide until we saw other visitors using theirs at the fifth. The numbering system telling you when to listen to which part is woefully inadequate as often you simply don't see the number on the wall. Therefore most of the time you either don't know what you're looking at or you're wondering what they're talking about when you're looking at the wrong thing. It only gets worse as you get into the ossiery.

Visitors are not allowed to touch the bones or use flash. The latter was flagrantly ignored by many visitors. I reminded one of this and he seemed grateful but I don't know if he was actually just annoyed to have been caught. But after walking down endless tunnels being fed incomprehensible geological information I was grateful to have finally arrived at the ossiery. But you can only look at so many skulls and bones and it soon got tiresome; even assuming you listened to the right parts of the audio guide at the right places; about the endless romanticised lamentations of the 19th century folk.

The guide time under the tunnel was 45 minutes but it actually took us over 1.5 hours. Given there are endless miles of the catacombes (I was told that some parts are even used as rave venues!), may I suggest to the management to open more than one system with a 'tighter' package so we can look at a decent representation of the place without wasting all the time queueing and looking at repetitive exhibits. And sort out the audio guide numbering system!

Visited March 2013
2 Thank LC42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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