Visit The Most Unusual Catacombs To Embark On A Private Tour Of Paris

Catacombs To Embark On A Private Tour Of Paris

Lying beneath the great city of Paris is a mesh of tunnels. While the French resistance utilized these tunnels at the time of World War II, the tunnels became a venue for rave parties during the 1990s. Applying his knowledge of tunnel system (which he learned while writing Les Misérables), Victor Hugo created this grand network of tunnels.

Since the system resembles a momentous maze, no one can figure out as to how many chambers or tunnels exist in it. After all, Paris is an age-old urban area that has evolved through the ages.

Still in this web of tunnels, you’ll see that one part is thrown open to public—the famous Catacombs of Paris. It was built in the late 18th century. It was during the late 17th century that Las Innocents, the largest cemetery in Paris had started becoming a problem for the neighbors. Since the cemetery was replete with too many bodies; the neighboring areas got contaminated resulting in diseases caused by open mass graves & improper burials.

However, neither Las Innocents nor any other place could hold on the growing population of Paris. After several complaints made by residents, the removal & the emptying of the cemetery was announced on November 9, 1785, by the Council of State.

The removal of bones began in 1786 and completed in 1788. At night, the bones were shifted to the Catacombs in a procession of monks and priests who sang hymns and psalms along the way to the cemetery.

From day one, the Catacombs generated curiosity not only amongst public but royalty too. After becoming King Charles 10 in the year 1787, the Lord of d’Artois visited these tunnels with several ladies from the Court. The Emperor of Austria, François I also visited and explored Catacombs in the year 1814.

Even Napoleon III also visited this place with his son in the year 1860. Dating back from the 18th century, the catacomb sides were coated in graffiti. Needless to say, people can find almost everyone’s mark in this place. It was in the late eighteenth century that catacombs started gaining popularity as a tourist spot. And, since 1867, this place has been thrown open to the public on a daily basis. Perhaps, majority tourist operators list the Catacombs as a tour of Paris.

Strangely scary, these Catacombs are quite gloomy, drab, damp, and distressing. One can see endless bones that are stacked up like a heap on each other. For all those who’re on the private tour of Paris will not be able to figure out who’s who—the skull you’re looking at might be of someone who perished due to a long-suffering or of an affluent aristocrat. So, you’ll never know.

Catacombs of Paris

To reach the Catacombs of Paris, either you can take subway & then RER to Denfert-Rochereau or you can also go to Bus No. 38 & 68. The place is open to visitors on all days from 10 AM to 5 PM except Mondays. 4 PM is the last timing when you can gain entry into the museum. Only 200 visitors are allowed in at one point of time; however entries can be canceled for a short period too. It takes 7 Euros to take this private tour of Paris. Do check their site before visiting the museum as sometimes they are closed out without any prior warning or reason.

 

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Reviewed by Jennifer Zhang   July 29, 2016
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