What Lies Beneath Paris? Explore The Eerie Catacombs Beneath The City Where Millions Rest In Silence!

Explore winding passages steeped in history!

by Mallika Khurana
What Lies Beneath Paris? Explore The Eerie Catacombs Beneath The City Where Millions Rest In Silence!

Beneath the bustling streets and romantic boulevards of Paris lies a secret world shrouded in darkness and mystery: the Catacombs. A labyrinthine network of old quarry galleries, this underground realm holds a chilling secret—it’s the final resting place for over six million souls.

Parsi Catacombs, A Descent Into The Depths

Travelling 20 metres below the surface—roughly the height of a five-story building—visitors descend into the macabre. With 243 steps leading down into the abyss, the atmosphere becomes thick with anticipation as each footstep echoes off the ancient stone walls.

The origins of the Catacombs date back to the 18th century when Paris faced a grave dilemma—literally. Because overcrowding in cemeteries constituted a major health risk, officials looked below ground for a solution. The location selected was beneath the Montrouge plain, in the old Tombe-Issoire quarries.

Covered waggons carried the bodies of Parisians from their original resting places to the depths below in a sombre procession that took place night after night between 1785 and 1814. The quarries were transformed into the largest ossuary in the world when bones were painstakingly arranged in the winding galleries.

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The Birth Of The Catacombs

On April 7, 1786, the site was officially designated the “Municipal Ossuary of Paris”. It adopted the name “Catacombs,” drawing parallels to the ancient catacombs of Rome. The Catacombs allowed visitors to enter by appointment only in 1809 and provided a glimpse into this terrifying underworld.

Today, a 1,500-meter route through the Catacombs leads visitors past corridors lined with innumerable Parisians’ bones. Every step you take reveals a bit of history, from the solemn processions of bygone eras to the notable guests who have passed through these dim hallways.

The Catacombs have captivated the imagination of innumerable individuals despite their eerie atmosphere, drawing close to 550,000 visitors annually. The eerie relic of Paris’s past, this subterranean world continues to entice inquisitive tourists and history buffs alike.

Paris’s intricate and varied past is eerily brought to mind by the Catacombs of Paris. They serve as a sombre reminder of the thin line separating life and death in a city known for its beauty and romance.

Cover Image Courtesy: Canva

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