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It’s Fun and Scary Down in the Ghostly Catacombs of Paris

Finding a place to stay in Paris was the easy part—my brother and his partner have a very comfortable sofa bed (I tested it when I came back from Brazil) and a spare key.

Now, finding things to do was the hard part.

I started trying every single ticket website back in May. Le Louvre, because Mark really wants to see Mona Lisa, the world’s most famous painting? Sold out. The Eiffel Tower, because the views are amazing from the top? Sold out. The Musée d’Orsay, featuring Vincent van Gogh’s La nuit étoilée? Sold out. Hell, I couldn’t even get tickets to the Arc de Triomphe!

Damn. I miss the pandemic. Back in 2021, I got us last-minute tickets to the top of the Eiffel Tower so easily…

Of course, we could have joined the line of innocent tourists who show up at museums and landmarks without a ticket but during peak season in Paris, wait times are brutal—two, three hours or more isn’t unheard of.

I didn’t feel like wasting time waiting in line. We only had three days to explore Paris, after all.

Eventually, I found one famous Parisian attraction with a better ticket management system—the Catacombs. Timed entry tickets to this underground maze of galleries are only released a week in advance to prevent resellers from buying them all.

They sell out fast because the maximum capacity is 200 visitors per day but somehow, I got two tickets.

Mark was going to love it—I mean, this is literally a massive labyrinth of death with real skulls and bones!

And so, on July 11, Mark and I walked to Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, had our tickets scanned and took the 130 steps to end up 65 meters below ground.

We were alone in the dark most of the time. It took us about twenty minutes to stumble upon the first remains of more than six million people in total—the ossuary was created in Paris’ former mines as part of the effort to eliminate the city’s overflowing cemeteries.

It was creepy. So many bones, so little space but very neat walls of femur and tibia bones arranged by location.

It was also pretty awesome. A freaky experience on the macabre side, for sure, but less claustrophobic than I would have thought. Don’t mind the water dripping overhead, the darkness, the strange shadows and the slight chill in the air…

Yeah, in the end, it was a relief to take the final spiral staircase and see the sunlight again!

Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
Catacombes de Paris, 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris
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Zhu

French woman in English Canada.

Exploring the world with my camera since 1999, translating sentences for a living, writing stories that may or may not get attention.

Firm believer that nobody is normal... and it’s better this way.

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