Paris Catacombs: The World’s Largest Grave

When most people think of visiting Paris, the common attractions that come to mind are the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame or a cruise on the Seine. These were on my list as well, but along with that, I wanted to visit the catacombs. Some may find this a bit macabre, me too. It is sad enough visiting cemeteries, but to see the skeletal remains of more than six million people is a little eerie. I had to visit.

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Close up of skulls

I was returning to Paris after 28 long years, and this time was a solo trip. Since this was my first international solo trip, I was going to keep it to a short three days. In case I had any misadventures, it would be over soon. The opposite was true, not only did I have a fabulous time in Paris, but I got a taste of solo travel, and longed for it again. So I had two items on my list: make it to the top of the Eiffel Tower and visit the catacombs. Worth waiting in line for, and that I did. An hour and a half wait and I was in!

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Arrangement of bones in the catacombs

Due to a series of crowded cemeteries and cave ins, human remains were moved to the underground tunnels in 1786. The bones were sorted and stacked by type and made into the arrangements you see today. The catacombs are near the Denfert-Rochereau metro stop. Walking through the catacombs is very easy, although some spots may be wet, however, you do need to navigate two circular stairways on the descent (130 steps) and ascent (83 steps).

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Circular staircase

Flash photography is not allowed in the Catacombs, but they are well lit so you can still get photos. I was traveling light, so I was just using a cell phone. If I go back, I will take a better camera. Do you have a desire to visit or have you ever been to the Catacombs?

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