Catacombs of Paris

Paris Travel Blog

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Some new friends

Welcome to the haunted blog. There is no rhyme or reason to this blog, just some random creepy or supposedly haunted places I’ve passed through over the years. I’ve never seen a ghost or goblin and err on the side of skepticism, and I’ve been to enough spooky old houses that maybe one should have popped up in a photo or two. Nevertheless I trek on figuring that if ghosts or the bogeyman exist one of these days I will get my close encounter.

A good start is a visit to the catacombs of Paris. Way back in the fall of 1999 at the end of a two week trip I decided to drag my brother to the underground vaults as a break from the fatigue of too many museums and monuments.

A visit to the underworld
We walked from the Novotel Les Halles over to the Left Bank, wandered around the Sorbonne, took a break at the Pantheon, and continued on. We were on the verge of giving up and turning around when we saw a queue of people standing at a nondescript building waiting to get in. Two German men had miner hats on with the lights attached and we realized we had struck gold.

A few centuries back as the city of Paris expanded beyond its medieval limits, various old cemeteries were dug up and the anonymous remains moved to the abandoned tunnels of a stone quarry. Some six-million skeletons now make up a city of the dead that lies underneath the modern metropolis. This network of tunnels and bones was used by French resistance fighters during World War II but today is open to hordes of invading tourists.
Bones
We promptly got in line to join the foreign invaders.

We walked down some meandering tunnels for a while before coming upon the bones. Lots and lots of bones. Massive stacks of leg bones and arm bones and random other bones with skulls inserted for ornamental design. There were figure eights of skulls and playful designs of femurs that were determined to cast off the somber air of the graveyard. The workers who moved the remains obviously had some fun at the expense of their ancestors, or perhaps the dead didn’t mind. Cemeteries in the Middle Ages were places where the living and the dead interacted, unlike today where they are pushed off to the periphery so us modern folks don’t have to contemplate our inevitable demise.

There were no guided tours of these catacombs, just people going about and taking photographs and making macabre jokes. After a while it was time to go, so up the spiral staircase we went. There was a quick pat down at the exit to make sure we weren’t taking any souvenirs home with us and then we were emptied into a nameless street. Exhausted from our afternoon journey to Hades and now helplessly lost, we hailed a cab and soon were back at the hotel. It was rather nice to feel the sunlight and to walk amongst the living again. I don’t know if the catacombs are haunted, but I would rather not be down there alone to find out.

Jo104 says:
interesting blog
Posted on: Mar 06, 2017
Ils1976 says:
I couldn't pass on this blog ... love the read! :D
Posted on: Oct 11, 2015
almond72 says:
Someone could well be the next host the Twilight zone, you look scary in the photos ! Is that a natural talent or what ? lol
Posted on: Oct 02, 2015
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Some new friends
Some new friends
A visit to the underworld
A visit to the underworld
Bones
Bones
Lots of bones
Lots of bones
Interesting specimen
Interesting specimen
Catacombs
Catacombs
Amongst the bones
Amongst the bones
Paris
photo by: Sweetski