The Catacombs of Paris
Book with Blue Fox Travel and Skip-the-line into the Catacombs where you’ll be able to visit a very unique part of Paris on a self guided tour. Well beneath the streets of Paris you’ll explore almost 2 kilometers of tunnels filled with an ever evolving history, many of them lined with the bones of over 6 million dead Parisians.
Dug out in the middle ages, the Catacombs of Paris were originally subterranean quarries that provided our city with the beautiful beige limestone used to construct most of the buildings in the city center. During the 18th century, due to the overpacked cemeteries in Paris, the King of France ordered that the bones of the long buried dead be transferred into the Catacombs for sanitary reasons.
Today these bones attract millions of visitors per year and the waiting time to enter into the Catacombs is often more than 3 hours long. This is due to the fact that only small groups of people are allowed to enter at one time and once inside they can stay for as long as they like. Thanks to our special tickets you will be able to skip the line and get right to exploring the Catacombs of Paris!
More than just old bones!
The adventure begins when you meet up with the Blue Fox ticket manager just across the street from the entrance to the Catacombs. The exact address will be in your confirmation email. The ticket manager will provide you with your skip the line tickets and show you to the entrance of the Catacombs. There you will have immediate access into the fascinating tunnels that you will be exploring.
Before you head down the stairs you’ll be given an audio-guide that will share fun facts and explain the highlights of Paris’ 2,000+ years of subterranean history. Then you’ll descend more than 20 meters below the street level. The spiral staircase you’re on will open up into a series of 3 small rooms that were used as a bomb shelter during the Nazi occupation of Paris.
Profoundly important history
In the catacombs there are many interesting photos and plaques with explanations about the several hundred kilometers of tunnels that lay beneath Paris. As you explore the tunnels you’ll discover the difficult and often dangerous quarrying techniques used to harvest the valuable limestone and bring it up to the surface.
You’ll find out about the mapping and fortification of the tunnels and quarries by a handful of valiant men who prevented the city from collapsing. You’ll also learn about how the Catacombs of Paris were used by both the French Resistance and the Nazi’s during WWII and, of course, why they were chosen to be the final resting place for the remains of more than 6 million dead.
The Kingdom of the Dead
When you reach the section of the tunnels where the bones are kept the first thing you will see is the plaque that “welcomes” you with these words: “Arrete! C’est ici l’Empire de la Mort” literally translated as “Stop! Here is the Empire of the Dead”. Once inside the doorway you will be completely surrounded by the remains on long dead French people.
You’ll walk past numerous oddities in these tunnels such as the “Well of the Samaritain” where scientific experiments took place, dozens of epitaphs with beguiling poems written in French and Latin, but the things that will intrigue the most are the bones themselves and how they are stacked in a very artistic way. The Catacombs of Paris are full of history, beautifully eerie, and are sure to be a part of Paris that you will never forget visiting!
- What Will You DoGood to Know:
There are 130 steps to descend in order to access the Catacombs of Paris and 83 steps to climb in order to exit the tunnels.
The temperature in the Catacombs of Paris stay fairly consistent all year round at 14°Celcius. As such it is a good idea to bring a warm jumper or light jacket with you into the tunnels.
You cannot bring anything larger than a small backpack with you into the tunnels and there is NO luggage storage available in the vicinity. As such please do not show up with any big bags or suitcases as you will be refused entrance.
There is no limit on how long you can stay inside. The average person usually spends a little more than an hour exploring in the tunnels with their audio-guide.
Your bags will be examined by security staff at the entrance AND at the exit of the Catacombs for safety reasons and to ensure that no vandalism or theft of bones occurs.
- What Is IncludedSkip-the-line access