|Bone display inside The Catacombs|
Although far older than 228 years, The Catacombs were officially blessed and consecrated in April 1786. It was then that city officials deemed the above ground cemeteries a public health hazard due to overcrowding.
Taking two years, and thousands of man hours, the bones from the Cimetiere des Innocents graveyard were transferred to this unique underground golgotha. Subsequent transfers from additional boneyards are represented in this gruesome crypt below the city.
|Bones from St. Jean Cemetery|
Today, The Catacombs are officially part of the History of Paris Museum. They showcase millions of years of geological history, as well as the charnel house holding the remains of over six million Parisian souls. The bones are stacked and arranged in provocative displays in an attempt to honor the lives of those entombed here.
|Inside The Catacombs of Paris|
If you go:
- Plan to arrive early. For safety reasons only 200 visitors are allowed in the tunnels at one time. Crowds circle the block waiting to purchase tickets for this intriguing tour.
- There are no restrooms once inside The Catacombs. Be sure to use the washroom before you go.
- The Catacombs are open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 AM to 5 PM. Closed Mondays and public holidays.
- Wear good walking shoes. A steep winding staircase takes you into The Catacombs, and once inside there is a 2 kilometer walk through the ossuary.