The Catacombs of Paris
The history of the site
The history of the Catacombs of Paris dates back to the end of the 18th century, when major sanitation problems linked to the city’s cemeteries led to the decision to transfer their contents underground.
The municipal ossuary of the Catacombs is one of the largest ossuaries in the world and one of the only underground ones.
Before its opening to the public in 1809, it was the subject of a substantial decorative arrangement under the aegis of Inspector Héricart de Thury, who transformed the place according to a museographic and monumental vision.
The bones, previously left loose, are neatly arranged in walls, modeled after the quarry “Hagues”. On the facade, the rows of shins alternate with those of skulls, while the facings pile up the remaining bones, often very fragmented by the consequences of their fall.
Ancient and Egyptian style masonry monuments are also laid out along the route, in the form of Doric pillars, altars, cippi or tombs. Names inspired by religious or romantic literature and Antiquity are given to certain places, such as the sarcophagus of the Lacrymatory, the fountain of the Samaritan or the sepulchral lamp.
The program of your visit
- Free visit of the Catacombs
- Explore this dark and exciting space!