The Catacombs of Paris are one of the earliest tourist attractions of the city – curious people have been visiting Paris Municipal Ossuary since 1809.
Paris Catacombs were originally limestone quarries, which now hold human remains of more than six million Parisians.
This incredible experience involves stacked bones and skulls in the underground, below the City of Lights.
Top Paris Catacombs Tour
Table of contents
- What to expect on Paris Catacombs tour
- Where to book tickets
- How do online tickets work
- Paris Catacombs ticket prices
- Paris Catacombs tickets: Guided tour
- How to reach Paris Catacombs
- Opening hours of Paris Catacombs
- How long do the Catacombs take
- Best time to visit Paris Catacombs
- What to wear to Paris Catacombs
- Audio Guides
- Paris Catacombs map
- FAQs about the Paris Catacombs
What to expect on Paris Catacombs tour
The Catacombs of Paris form an enormous network of tubes and chambers beneath the city.
On the tour, visitors can view the deceased’s skulls and bones in orderly mounds.
Inscriptions, sculptures, and murals adorn the walls and they narrate the tales of the individuals interred in the Catacombs.
The Paris Catacombs are divided into two parts – the ossuary and the crypt.
The ossuary contains the bones and skulls of the dead while the crypt is a much larger area, holding the remains of great figures, including Marie Antoinette, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Louis XVI.
During the tour, you climb down 131 steps and climb up 112 steps, and the floor is uneven and slippery.
The darkness and silence inside the tunnels create an eerie atmosphere.
Where to book tickets
Tickets for Paris Catacombs are available online and at the attraction.
Online ticket prices tend to be cheaper than tickets at the venue.
When you buy online, you can avoid the long queues at the attraction’s ticket counters.
When you book early, you also get your preferred time slot.
Because some attractions sell a limited number of tickets, during peak days they may sell out. Booking early helps avoid last-minute disappointments.
How do online tickets work
Go to the Paris Catacombs booking page and choose your desired date and time and the number of tickets.
Once you purchase Paris Catacombs tickets, they get delivered to your email address.
There is no need to get printouts of the ticket.
You can show the e-ticket on your smartphone when you visit the attraction.
Remember to bring your official IDs.
Paris Catacombs ticket prices
A ticket for guided tour of Paris Catacombs is priced at €120 for all the visitors of all age groups.
Paris Catacombs tickets: Guided tour
If you are not on a budget holiday, we highly recommend you book a guided tour of the Catacombs in the French capital.
With the guided tour ticket, you skip the lines and discover the labyrinth of the Paris Catacombs with knowledgeable locals.
The guide shares stories and anecdotes about the people buried here, those who worked here, etc., helping you unearth the macabre and mysterious underbelly of Paris.
Ticket Cost: €120
How to reach Paris Catacombs
The Catacombs of Paris is on the 14th arrondissement of Paris.
Address: 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, 75014 Paris, France. Get Directions
You can reach the Catacombs by taking public transport or personal vehicle.
The catacombs is right next to Denfert-Rochereau station, which is serviced by Lines 4 and 6.
Catacomb’s entrance is around 50 meters (160 feet) from the station.
If you plan to take the RER train, you can board Line B and get down at Denfert-Rochereau.
Bus numbers 38 and 68 can also drop you closer to the Parisian attraction.
If you’re driving by car, turn on Google Maps and get started.
You can find a parking spot on Boulevard Saint-Jacques.
Opening hours of Paris Catacombs
From Tuesday to Sunday, the Catacombs of Paris open at 9.45 am and close at 8.30 pm.
The last entry is at 7.30 pm, which is when the ticket window also closes.
The Catacombs remain closed on Monday.
The famous attraction is closed for visitors on 1 January, 1 May, and 25 December.
How long do the Catacombs take
During your tour of Paris Catacombs, you walk 1.5 kilometers (almost a mile) circuit in approximately 45 minutes.
Including your entry and exit, the whole experience lasts an hour.
Since this walk is on an uneven and slippery floor, some visitors take a little more time through the narrow passageways.
Best time to visit Paris Catacombs
The best time to visit the Catacombs in Paris is when it opens at 9.45 am.
If you can’t make it in the morning, the next best time is 7 pm.
When you visit later in the evening, the crowd has already left, and the eeriness factor increases manifold.
The Catacombs are most crowded from 1 pm to 5 pm, especially on a Saturday. Sundays are relatively free.
What to wear to Paris Catacombs
Before we recommend what you must wear for your tour of the Catacombs of Paris, here are a few things you must know:
- You will walk 1.5 kilometers (almost a mile) of uneven, slippery floor
- You will climb down 131 steps and climb up 112 steps
- The temperature inside the underground site is around 14°C
- It gets very humid
- Because of a queue, you may have to wait outdoors at the attraction’s entrance. Visitors end up waiting even during non-peak season (winter).
While visiting Paris Catacombs, it is better to wear comfortable shoes for all the walking required.
Since the temperature and humidity underground are different from what you experience above the ground, you must dress up in layers.
Paris Catacombs tickets come with audioguides, which are available in English, French, Spanish, and German.
They are 30 minutes long, and help understand the attraction better.
Visitors must bring along their earphones (the connector is a jack) on their Paris Catacombs visit.
Paris Catacombs map
The ossuary was created in the late 18th century in abandoned underground quarries dating from the 15th century in the locality of Tombe-Issoire.
These underground quarries cover around 800 hectares (2,000 acres), creating nearly 320 km (200 miles) of labyrinthine tunnels.
However, only a small portion known as the Denfert-Rochereau Ossuary is open to the public.
The Paris Catacombs tour happens along this 1.5 kilometers (almost a mile) long route shown on the map below.
The map shows the various points of interest. Note the absence of visitor services – that’s because there are none.
For more details on these points of interest, check out the Paris Catacombs guide (PDF, 1.4 Mb).
FAQs about the Paris Catacombs
Here are some questions visitors usually ask before visiting the Catacombs of Paris.
In the late eighteenth century, the cemeteries in Paris were overflowing and creating public health problems.
As a result, the city officials decided to transfer their contents to an underground site – the former Tombe-Issoire quarries, just outside the city. Between 1785 to 1787, the Saints-Innocents cemetery, the largest in Paris, was excavated and moved to the underground site.
The new spot was officially named Paris Municipal Ossuary in 1786. Inspired by the 5th-century burial grounds in Rome, the Roman Catacombs, the Parisians started calling this site the Paris Catacombs.
The total area of the Catacombs in the French capital is 11,000 m2, and it is 20 meters (65 feet) deep, equivalent to a 5-story building.
Yes, only 200 visitors can explore the catacombs at one time. This is to ensure safety for all.
The floors of the tunnels are dim, narrow, uneven and slippery. Hence, the tour is not suitable for those on wheelchairs.
No! touching bones is strictly prohibited. This is to ensure nothing gets damaged.
To ensure the safety and preservation of the ossuary, visitors can’t enter the Catacombs with a suitcase, a large bag, or a motorcycle helmet.
Only bags smaller than 40x30x20 cm are allowed, and you must carry them on the front or hold them on your side.
Parents can’t bring their kids in strollers. Instead, it would be best if you used a baby carrier.
Eating or drinking is not allowed on Catacomb tours, and all kinds of alcohol are also prohibited.
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