Catacombes Paris

Visit the Catacombes in Paris

While some kids might find this a disturbing sight, many will enjoy the creepiness of looking at the millions of human bones buried in labyrinthine tunnels under Paris. Bring a sweater – it’s chilly down there.

Begin at the ticket booth for the Catacombes (1) on place Denfert-Rochereau, where a staircase leads down about 80 steps to a web of tunnels dug in Roman times. Farther on, a sign stating “Arrête, c’est ici l’Empire de la Mort ! » (« Stop, this is the Empire od Death !) marks the start of the catacombs proper and sets the philosophical tone of this municipal ossuary, created in the 18th century when old quarries were converted into storage places for bones from overcrowded cemeteries. Skulls and bones are piled up in neat lines and adorned with literary quotations about death along with the names of the cemeteries they were brought from. Some six million people are buried here, and though it’s all very tidy, it’s a little spooky. You’ll emerge onto rue Rémy Dumoncel; turn right, and right again onto avenue du Général Leclerc, then left on rue Daguerre. With its food shops and cafés, this pedestrianized market street is the hub of local life. La chope Daguerre (2, 17 rue Daguerre) has good terrace and serves generous portions at lunch and drinks and snacks all day. Or return to Denfert-Rochereau and cross the square toward the RER station for lunch at Apollo (3, place Denfert-Rochereau), a restaurant housed in the former baggage depot. Adults will enjoy the cosmopolitan food; kids will like the children’s menu and the bright 70s décor and Pop Art-style plastic assemblages. You can eat inside or on the terrace out back.

Metro Station : Mouton-Duvernet (Line 4), Denfert-Rochereau (Line 4, 6)