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Dating from the end of the 18th century, the Paris Catacombs are “Paris Municipal Ossuary”. They were installed in old underground quarries (the Tombe-Issoire quarries).
They were created to cope with lack of space in Paris cemeteries and the related unsalubrity problems.
This site has a unique atmosphere, justifying its success with the public since 1809, when the Catacombs became accessible.
Due to the limited space allowing the visit, only 200 visitors can access the site simultaneously.
Getting into the Catacombs can therefore require a lot of patience (sometimes more than an hour…).
The Paris Catacombs are open all year long from Tuesday to Sunday from 9:45 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. (last enter at 7:30 p.m.).
Exceptionnal closings: 01/01, 05/01 and 12/25.
Visitors entrance is located at Place Denfert Rochereau (1 avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, 75014 Paris).
After the visit, visitors leave at 21bis avenue René-Coty, 75014 Paris.
The site are reachable by public transport:
Metro: lines 4 or 6 “Denfert-Rochereau” station
- Train: line B “Denfert-Rochereau” station
- Bus: lines 38 or 68 “Denfert-Rochereau” stop
Paid car park is avaible near the Catacombs at 83 boulevard Saint-Jacques, 75014 Paris
Same day ticket:
Normal price: €15
Reduced price: €13 (conditions on the official website)
Free access under conditions (see the official website)
Priority tickets for another day can be purchased online on the official website:
Adult priority ticket: €29 (audioguide included)
Reduced price: €27 (audioguide included, conditions on the official website)
Under 18 priority ticket: €5 (audioguide not included)
These tickets are valid on the selected date and time. They are non-exhangeable and non-refundable.
Purchase of combined tickets including Paris Catacombs and the Ile de la Cité archaeological crypt is possible but only at the Catacombs cash desk (validity time: 48 hours).
Audioguide: €5 (French, English, German or Spanish).
Self-guided or guided group tours with a lecturer can be booked on the official website.
Individual guided tours are also possible (consult tours agenda on the official website).
Please note: Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult.
The visit is a marked route of 1.5 km in one direction and last approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Please note: In case of high attendance, the entrances may be temporarily interrupted. Information about attendance peak times is available here.
As part of the Vigipirate operation (see NEED TO KNOW), a security check will be carried out when entering the site.
Maximum authorized baggage dimensions: 40 cm x 30 cm (no luggage storage or cloakroom available on site). For security and ossuary conservation reasons, bags must be carried in front or by hand.
It is strictly forbidden to smoke, drink, eat and touch the bones in the Catacombs
Please note: Due to underground site constraints, access requires taking stairs and is not possible for people in whellchairs or equipped with walkers.
The Catacombs are not recommended for people with reduced mobility, suffering from claustrophobia, heart or respiratory failure, sensistive people, pregnant women and young children likely to be disturbed by the place. The atmosphere can also be anxiety-provoking for people with mental disabilities.
Blind and partially sighted people must be accompanied. Guide dogs can enter the Catacombs in addition to the accompanist. White canes are banned due to bones preventive conservation measures.
Please note: Touching ban on works, bones and decor applies to everyone, including people with visual disabilities.
Please note: Dogs and other pets are not allowed on site.
Only guide dogs are allowed to access the monument
The site is not equipped with toilets, but public toilets are located near the Catacombs exit at 21bis avenue René-Coty, 75014 Paris.
Temperature is constant and cool all year long with high humidity in the Catacombes (14°C / 57.2°F).
In addition, in winter as in summer, waiting time outside can be long before accessing the undergrounds.
Remember to cover yourself well and prefer flat shoes to comfortably visit the site (boots are not necessary). Bring weather-appropriate clothing and water to hydrate yourself while waiting.
A bookshop-gift shop is located at the Paris Catacombs visit exit and offers gifts from the Catacombs and from Paris.
Personal photos are authorized in the Catacombs but without flash for bones conservation reasons.
Tripods and other large photos accessories are to be avoided
Free Wi-Fi hotspot is available near the Catacombs entrance (operated by Nomosphère).
Connection is impossible from undergrounds.
Please note: Floor in the undergrounds is sometimes uneven ad slippery, some spaces are narrow and dark, be careful to avoid falls.
The Paris Catacombs are a unique and fragile place that must be preserved and respected by all. Thefts, attempted bones theft, destruction and damage to property or persons will be immediately and systematically prosecuted in accordance with laws and regulations in force.
As for all major tourist sites, there is a risk of pickpockets presence around the site. Watch your personal belongings.
For more information, see the recommendations in the NEED TO KNOW chapter.
The term “catacombs” is not entirely correct. Indeed, the Paris Catacombs are more an ossuary than underground burials as observed under the Roman Empire (real “catacombs”).
Initial bones transfer was carried out between 1787 and 1814. It was mainly done at night to avoid affending residents feelings and the Church.
Catacombs bones mainly come from the Innocents Cemetery and from former Parisian parish cemeteries.
Decorative arrangement was carried out by Inspector Héricart de Thury, who was inspired by ancient and Egyptian styles.
The site opened its doors to the public in 1809, but only for visits by reservation.
Several famous figures have visited the Catacombs, such as the Count of Artois (future Charles X, 1787) or Napoléon III and his son (1860).
In the 19th century, farmers, among which Mr. Chambéry, used the Catacombs to grow mushrooms because of their constant, cool and humid atmosphere.
Originally, visits were made with candlelight. It was not until 1983 that electricity was available in the undergrounds.
During the Second World War, the Catacombs were used by the French resistance as for hiding or tarnishing meetings. On the other side, the Nazis used the Catacombs to build bunkers.
Remains placed in the Catacombs could not be identified, but among them are famous French French historical figures, such as Jean de la Fontaine, Charles et Claude Perrault, François Rabelais, Racine, Colbert, Robespierre, Danton and Camille Desmoulins.
The Paris Catacombs undergrounds are located 20 meters below the surface (on average).
The tour includes 243 steps (131 to descend and 112 to climb) and extends over 1.5 km. This route represent approximately 1/800th of the total Catacombs area under Paris (i.e. 11,000 m²).
Bones of more than 6 million people have been moved to the Catacombs.
The Paris Catacombs welcome an average of 550,000 visitors per year.