Parismont.com - The Paris tourist attractions that aren’t worth a visit

ranked #8 out of 10 attractions rated 2.03 out of 5 total 583 votes

The Catacombs (Les Catacombs)

Why the Catacombs are a Paris tourist attraction that isn’t worth a visit

There is certainly no reason to spend your precious time in Paris visiting the Catacombs!

While the entrance fee is reasonable cheap with €5, this doesn’t qualify the Catacombs as a nice tourist attraction. In fact the Catacombs are pretty weird.

At the end of the 18th century Paris had too many dead people and the cementeries were overpopulated - the cementeries had become a hygenic problem. Therefore the Parisian city council decided to transfer the bones of almost 6 million dead people to the underground tunnels beneath Paris. For over a year they shipped the bones during the night to the tunnels and made piles of skulls and bones. The skulls are all thrown together in the back and arranged in the front. They even made some sort of art with them and arranged the bones as crosses and faces! How odd is that!

The CatacombsIf you’re willing to watch millions of dead people eye to “eye socket”, you have to descend a long spiral staircase for quite some time. Then you reach a small chamber where the tunnels start. The dirt tunnels wind for a long time and you can’t turn back. You’re a long way below ground, you are in an actual grave.

It’s quite cold in there - 52° F (11° C) and you will have the bone dust all over you!

There are some plaques on the walls about the history, but they are all in French.

When you think you can’t stand another pile of bones the approx. 1.25 miles (2km) tour is over and you ascend a spiral staircase. But be aware that you’re now in a completely different place. And they really check your bags to make sure that you haven’t taken some bones with you! How sick can people be that this is necessary?

This tour is spooky and macabre and surly not for kids, faint-hearted or claustrophobics. We recommend this tour only to visitors that have already seen everything in Paris and need some kind of macabre thrill. To all the others, please visit first the amazing sites Paris has to offer, before you even think of visiting the Catacombs. Paris is much too beautiful than to waste your time with piles of skulls.

Attraction: The Catacombs (Les Catacombs)
Address: 1, place Denfert-Rochereau, 75014 Paris
Opening hours: Days Time
Tue - Fri 02:00 p.m. - 04:00 p.m.
Sat - Sun 09:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. &
02:00 p.m. - 04:00 p.m.
Admission fees: Ticket type Price
Tickets €5

Rate this attraction…

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  •  don’t visit

 

72 Comments »

  1. January 9, 2006 @ 7:32 am

    Sue said,

    Ewww.. this place sounds too morbid for me! I mean, that’s disgusting to have bone dust of 6 million people’s bones all over you… yuk… makes me shudder to think about it.

  2. January 12, 2006 @ 9:05 am

    funnybones said,

    you actually make it sound quite good!

  3. January 24, 2006 @ 7:04 am

    Sarah said,

    The Catacombs are still a part of Paris history and the fact that it’s classed as a tourist attraction shows that alot of people don’t share your view. I’d love to see the Catacombs when I visit Paris in a few weeks, it sounds great!!

  4. February 15, 2006 @ 1:18 pm

    jesska said,

    i have been there that was fun and cool

  5. June 18, 2006 @ 1:26 am

    samurai said,

    This was one of my favorite stops. Very interesting to see and learn the history about it. True, it’s a bit creepy, but I prefer something out of the norm on my vacations, not just the nice pretty things. To say that Les Catacombs “are pretty weird” shows that this writer must not have much of a sense of adventure.

  6. July 9, 2006 @ 1:18 pm

    Jose Bello said,

    Paris is a beautifull city with a lot to offer and this is part of Paris’s history. There is nothing ugly about this place, I found it to be very intersting, not everything in life is beautiful and if you are a real person and enjoy history,this place has it all. Just remember, the Parisian had a hygenic problem with the overpopulated cementeries and they had no other choice, if they created this place was to save others from death.

  7. November 14, 2006 @ 10:09 pm

    maria tost said,

    I dont know who writes this comments but it seems to me that he or she did not find a thing worth seing in Paris. Very narrow minded. Lack of culture….??? Their advise is worhtless to me.

  8. November 29, 2006 @ 12:35 am

    may yeung said,

    I’m sorry, but i agree with Maria tost. The person who wrote this is too single-minded. This may be “odd” or “weird” to you but now I’m even more interested.

  9. December 4, 2006 @ 11:37 pm

    Sweetness said,

    I think it sounds really cool and I want to visit someday.

  10. January 10, 2007 @ 3:33 pm

    terri said,

    This is the one place I wished had been open when we went. I am, however, more interested in the underground bits of Paris that are not on any official tour. Why visit and photograph all the “normal” tourist spots when you can go the road less traveled? I prefer the out-of-the ordinary.

  11. January 14, 2007 @ 4:16 am

    Christina Milian said,

    I googled for something completely different, but found your page…and have to say thanks. nice read.

  12. February 16, 2007 @ 8:00 am

    Amber said,

    I actually will be visiting Paris in a few weeks and I really want to visit this place, I saw a special on TV about the catacombs and they sound very interesting!

  13. May 2, 2007 @ 2:02 pm

    Katie said,

    you make it sound really cool i dont know why you have it in the top ten “bad tourist attractions!” That’s just weird that you are calling it weird!

  14. August 7, 2007 @ 6:22 am

    Ronit said,

    Wow, you sound like a pampered sensitive idiot. Who wouldnt want to see the catacombs? You can’t deny death.

  15. August 15, 2007 @ 5:47 pm

    Jessica said,

    I’m going to Paris at the end of September and this just made the catacombs even more appealing! Everyone goes to the “standard” tourist attractions, but in order to fully appreciate the culture sometimes you have to get a little down and dirty.

  16. August 23, 2007 @ 8:42 pm

    January said,

    I can’t wait to visit! Perhaps the reveiwer should have done some research a head of time. Perhaps nobody should visit the Tower of London because of all the people who have been beheaded at that site. This is history!

  17. August 31, 2007 @ 6:02 pm

    Kelvin said,

    once again, another narrow minded review on one of paris’s most historic and important sites that made paris what it is today. I cannot understand the logic in the person who writes these reviews. Its funny how NOBODY agrees with this article writers reviews. It does make sense though. This person lacks culture and needs to remain back in their trailer.

  18. September 20, 2007 @ 11:50 am

    foxhay said,

    Do not be put off by the first review. The catacombs are absolutely fascinating and unique, and the chance to experience such a vast subterranean area in a major city such as Paris is a rare opportunity. It really is another world down there. If the first reviewer was put off by the amount of ‘dead people’ down there then maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to chose to visit an underground cemetary- the clue’s in the title! Also, it’s not particularly ‘odd’ that some of the bones were arranged into patterns down there when you imagine the daily grind of piling up millions of bones and what a repetitive and boring task it must have been. It seems the reviewer lacks any sort of imagination.

  19. October 29, 2007 @ 5:51 pm

    JOSH SANDERS said,

    ZYOUR ALL DUMB CATACOMBS ARE SWEET IT6 DESERVES A 5 NEVER LEAVE A COMMENT HERE AGAIN

  20. October 30, 2007 @ 6:17 pm

    eva said,

    I think that the original review is taking itself and the exhibit way too seriously. I have been to catacombes and ossuaries all over the world and they are macabre and beautiful. Speaking of wierd art, Cedlec ossuary near Prague is decorated all over with chandeliers and coats of arms made from bones. I think that the way we have treated our dead in times past, and now, is fascinating. And turning the long dead into a beautiful monument to rememembrance is surely more useful and respectful than the sentimental clap-trap spouted over modern boneyards. Worth a visit, unless you are truly claustrophobic. And yes, very suitable for children- they love the weird and wonderful, as Roald Dahl proves!

  21. November 2, 2007 @ 5:20 am

    Lesley and Andy said,

    My husband and I will be sure to see it on our next honeymoon, sounds sexy! Wonder if they check your body for bones, too? (Look whose got a boner!) lol j/k :)

  22. December 10, 2007 @ 7:56 pm

    Erin said,

    oh myyyy gooodnesss. I want to go so bad! and then I’ll keep all of my really good bone dusted clothes and never ever wash them again! I’m so stoked!

  23. February 9, 2008 @ 9:23 pm

    Jojo said,

    Im going to Paris this September and now i want to visit this place sooo bad! this looks so cool and i cant wait to check it out! i dont see how you could say “there is certainly no reason to spend your precious time in Paris visiting the Catacombs”

  24. March 16, 2008 @ 10:35 pm

    Alina said,

    Um, narrow minded much? This article is totally crazy. Apparaently it never occured to you that some people (in fact, a lot of people) might like this kind of thing and find the historical value of it. When I go to Paris this is something I definitely want to see. I’m researching the Catacombs for a project and it sounds pretty interesting

  25. March 16, 2008 @ 10:40 pm

    Alina said,

    Um, narrow minded much? This article is totally crazy. Apparaently it never occured to you that some people (in fact, a lot of people) might like this kind of thing and find the historical value of it. When I go to Paris this is something I definitely want to see. I’m researching the Catacombs for a project and it sounds pretty interesting.

  26. April 1, 2008 @ 1:54 pm

    Jesus said,

    this is the entrance to hell!!!!

  27. April 22, 2008 @ 6:57 pm

    king said,

    i went there last week and it literally changed my life. Seeing all the designs and the amount of bones, was amazing it is something everyone needs to see this historical maze

  28. May 12, 2008 @ 9:58 pm

    Marty said,

    Ignore the article. Go to the catacombs.

  29. May 15, 2008 @ 3:48 pm

    terrence said,

    I agree when someone is mentioning ‘the single minded’ vision .. It is REALLY fun and different - spooky yes but something else than a rollercoaster. JUST GO!

  30. June 1, 2008 @ 6:08 am

    katie said,

    whoever wrote this obviously doesn’t appreciate french culture and history. the way that you worded the entire synopsis was in a snobish and dirrogatory way. you don’t know how to appreciate french history and your opininon is a false representation of the american view of france. you need to think about all the stupid things the U.S. did in our history before you put down what other countries have done that you “don’t approve of.” your insulting little description of the catacombs has little affect on the americans who read it, including me. i will be traveling to france with my school in 2 weeks and i will DEFINITELY be visting the catacombs.

  31. June 1, 2008 @ 6:14 am

    liz said,

    your a dumbass. they are totally worth visiting. you think that people are going to see things from your point of view, but they can’t get thier heads that far up their asses.

  32. June 4, 2008 @ 7:00 pm

    Herb said,

    You are all being too hard on the writer of this review. The style of writing is indicitive of her age. I don’t know the reviewer, but will assume she is (was) in her late teens, and very concerned with what is considered to be normal. I would be willing to bet (or at least hope) that she has matured during the two years since this review was writen. I will definately visit this site when I visit Paris later this month. I only wish I had the time to explore the rest of the tunnels. I will have to be satisfied with the pictures that can be seen on various Urban Exploration web sites. Thanks for posting the hours for the tours!

  33. July 5, 2008 @ 7:22 pm

    Caroline said,

    doh, reverse psychology…..

  34. July 8, 2008 @ 6:27 pm

    Luc G said,

    I absolutely disagree with this review. Visiting the catacombs was one of the highlights of our honeymoon. Paris isn’t all about lights, paintings and sculptures. There’s a lot more history to the city than that. I also don’t understand the comment about dust. There was absolutely no dust on our clothes when we came out, let alone bone dust.

  35. July 16, 2008 @ 4:20 am

    Laura Gabriela said,

    I went there with my husband 5 years ago, after wanting to go there for years. It was very educational, especially how the tunnels were used during WWII. Take a guided tour if you want to get more out of it. And next week we are taking our kids–ages 8 and 10. They are very excited, especially after watching the “Cities Underground” show on TLC or Discovery Channel. It is cool and damp, and your bags get searched at the end, but the writer is really exaggerating about it. I’d really recommend going there!

  36. August 24, 2008 @ 10:40 pm

    Lori & Ann said,

    We’ve just been to Paris for a short weekend culture break……. catacombs were recommended to us and we went in knowing nothing about what went on, what we would see or the spooky atmosphere you can’t help but feel walking around there You descend down a huge spiral never-ending staircase….. walk for miles….. then climb another huge narrow spiral staircase that comes out nowhere near where you went in and no signs to show where to go to leave (take a map - easy enough!) As for searching bags on the way out - yes people are sick enough to try and steal the bones of ancient frenchmen!! We saw 2 skull and an array of bones that had been retrieved as we left!!!!! Having said all of that, this was a sight we were glad we took the time to see….. we didn’t however find it your t […] more

  37. September 14, 2008 @ 9:56 am

    Allison said,

    Whoever wrote this is obviously an idiot. The attractions listed are all important parts of history and are beautiful. The Lourve may take a while to navigate but even I, at 17, could appreciate the world art. The catacombs are interesting and completely different then anything you may ever see. I don’t understand why this site was even created because the person writing obviously doesn’t like Paris and has nothing good to say. The weeks I spent in Paris were some of the best in my life and I say that any traveler should go and see it. Even if it doesn’t blow your mind the sights are beautiful, interesting or down-right memorable. Did I get this wrong or was this site created with the intention of getting travelers to not visit Paris? Where, if this is correct, should they visit?

  38. October 17, 2008 @ 5:24 am

    Jen said,

    We just got back from Paris and LOVED exploring the catacombs. Such an amazing history kept below the city. It’s certainly not for the faint of heart or for people who don’t like tight spaces, but it was very interesting. It was our last stop in Paris and one of the best things we saw.

  39. October 20, 2008 @ 7:42 pm

    Shawna said,

    How sick is this, it reminds me of the holicost.

  40. October 21, 2008 @ 12:33 am

    Samantha said,

    It seems as though you have no interest in the place, you were merely board and decided to write about something, not particularly interesting to me….sounds as if you would rather be somewhere else in Paris.

  41. December 11, 2008 @ 5:39 pm

    Britt said,

    It sounds to me like this person is quite pampered. Perhaps you shouldn’t go off the main tourist sites to visit some actual history. I have been enchanted with the catacombs for about 5 years now and let me tell you I might miss the Eiffel tower to go visit this. The Eiffel tower I don’t get but this I do because it is a very sobering moment. And FYI, I have stolen bones out of graves before and tried turning a femur into a marijuana pipe. They have to do bag checks because of idiots like me.

  42. March 11, 2009 @ 11:15 pm

    Laina said,

    I visited the catacombs in Paris a year and a half ago. It was one of the highlights of my 4 days there and a must see visit! You will never see anything like it, except maybe in Rome from what I hear. It’s not weird, it’s fascinating. And BTW, you’re in France, they speak French, get used to it. English does not rule the world, learn a new language.

  43. September 26, 2009 @ 2:27 am

    you said,

    i went paris this time last year and i went to there for 3 months,,, i went to all the popular places… eifle tower, arc de trimuph, louve, ect they are all great but mostly everyone goes there, the catacombs are definatly a place to visit, yes i agree who wants to be down there with all them bones, but its defenatly a place to see, if your in paris to see its beautya nd to learn about the culture this place is a must see, its not weird at all, it actually amazing to see such and amazing thing, think of the time that this would have taken, they should check your bags, its paris history and its the equilivant of stealing something from the louve. this place its really somthing you wont see anywhere else, rome also has catacombs but these ones are really something, i recommend them. learn a […] more

  44. September 29, 2009 @ 3:17 pm

    Georgina said,

    ja poop is good

  45. September 29, 2009 @ 3:24 pm

    i said,

    the catacombs are very interesting i love the architecture. very beuatiful site for well not really beuatiful but its a part of paris history.

  46. September 30, 2009 @ 8:14 pm

    james said,

    Truly the stupidest “review” of anything I’ve ever read. How sad an aspect of the history of Paris doesn’t meet with your approval! Grow up, get a life.

  47. December 7, 2009 @ 9:05 pm

    sour pickle xD said,

    this is sooooo grosss! D:

  48. January 15, 2010 @ 10:48 pm

    roxy said,

    I am going in march and want to visit the catacombs. However last time I was on a tour in an actual cave i fainted because of the lack of air in the cave. Is this likely to happen in the catacombs too?

  49. March 3, 2010 @ 9:32 pm

    Jocelyn Z. said,

    I think the Catacombs was very interesting. In fact, I’m obsessed! I’m 15 years old and ever since I saw a speacial on tv about them, I was hooked. I think you just want something to whine about. Well yay for you. You did. Now shut up.

  50. March 4, 2010 @ 1:24 am

    Canalope said,

    Lies all lies you dont know the first thing about the catacombs of paris youve never been there or researched it!

  51. June 3, 2010 @ 5:54 pm

    Sassy miss said,

    This place sounds interesting and fun (even if you don’t enjoy history that much). So i totally disagree how it’s apparently not ‘normal’! To me it’s got a lot of history and culture in it, and a place where you should visit if ever going to France.

  52. June 9, 2010 @ 5:14 pm

    Stuck in school(bored) said,

    The catacombes sound AWSOME to visit, apparently you need an attitude check, dissing on the catacombes is wrong and offencive to the french, but you have your opinions and i have mine. While researching the catacombes we found the history to be very interesting. Hope to visit some day!!!! ^_^

  53. July 8, 2010 @ 6:21 am

    guided tours europe said,

    guided tours europe That’s good that you are making such smashing knowledge just about this good topic. And we think that should be very good if people order the thesis abstract or buy dissertation from you.:)

  54. July 17, 2010 @ 12:44 am

    Tosha said,

    I’ve been to Paris it is beautiful! I went there right after a close friend passed so I didn’t go to the catacombs. If I were to go again I would definitely visit the catacombs!

  55. November 1, 2010 @ 8:00 am

    13ShadesofGray said,

    We visited the Catacombs during our trip earlier this month and walked away with a somber respect for life. Yes, it was a morbid experience - that is inescapable considering the reason for its creation. The respect shown for those who were laid to rest in the Catacombs seems to have been lost on you, I am sad to say. Thankfully it wasn’t lost on myself, or the rest of my family when we were there. Personally, I would highly recommend it to those who aren’t squeamish or uncomfortable in dark/close spaces.

  56. November 19, 2010 @ 7:16 pm

    asdf said,

    weird

  57. August 12, 2011 @ 11:27 pm

    Thetruthhurts said,

    You are a complaining pussy bitch and need to grow up. Sorry it’s not disneyland and there aren’t bright lights to keep your attention sweetheart.

  58. September 13, 2011 @ 9:29 pm

    Sally Cinnamon said,

    I totally disagree with this view as I’ve visited the Catacombs last time I was in Paris and it shocked and amazed me. It’s a once in a life time experience where you end up appreciating life and history more than you had before you went it. Highly recommend it to everyone who does not suffer from claustrophobia.

  59. September 22, 2011 @ 3:34 pm

    allison said,

    i tasted the bones yumm

  60. October 7, 2011 @ 9:12 pm

    Maginnis said,

    I believe that you should really focus on the positive aspects, as this is really quite an amazing place. To move millions of bodies underground as a way to clear space and prevent disease is an amazing, initiative and thoughtful idea that people may not have even contemplated nowadays. Kilometers and kilometers of tunnels exist underground, beautiful and artistic all over. Children are free, it is 14 degrees underground, and the trip averages at 45 minutes, you are not allowed to touch the bones, and it is not dusty as the floors are a solid, clay-like substance. When we went our bags were not checked, and the caretakers are lovely informative people. The history is obviously in French because this attraction is in Paris. It actually has a rather interesting history really. There is a cas […] more

  61. October 14, 2011 @ 7:41 pm

    casey said,

    it would be so much fun to go their. I would go to paris just for the catacombs

  62. November 6, 2011 @ 4:01 am

    Catacombs facts | Keanahiraki said,

    […] The Catacombs (Les Catacombs) – Find out why this Paris tourist …Jan 9, 2006 … While the entrance fee is reasonable cheap with €5, this doesn’t qualify the Catacombs as a nice tourist attraction. In fact the Catacombs are … […]

  63. November 29, 2011 @ 8:13 pm

    David said,

    look who’s got a BONEr.

  64. December 15, 2011 @ 1:14 am

    WutEvr said,

    I’m doing a project on the catacombs in my French class, and that article didn’t help much (if at all); I searched up “French catacombs facts and I got this crap. This would have been good if I wanted a reason NOT to go to the catacombs, but I think that the writer should have made the article less one-sided. :( BTW, David wut’s wrong wid yo HEAD?!?

  65. February 7, 2012 @ 1:02 am

    Jay Jay The Flying Airplane said,

    This guy is an idiot! you obviously have no respect for history and this is a big part of it! you have no idea what this place is all about. you have no standards and enjoy ranting on places you have never been to! and if you have been you did not get the same feel that i (14) got and at this younge age! you have no idea what you are talking about. on my trip to paris the catacombs were the highlight of the trip. you have no right to come in and diss them! PS everyone reading this… mabey hes using reverse phsycology! come visit the catacombs! its an expeieriance you will NEVER forget!

  66. February 16, 2012 @ 3:30 pm

    Meghan Trimble said,

    you touch your self how cold it is… literally you shiver ;)

  67. June 5, 2012 @ 4:55 am

    Jill R. said,

    I’m definitely going there next visit.

  68. January 3, 2013 @ 7:12 pm

    S Andy said,

    This is a horrible article and the way they made the ratings is awful

  69. February 3, 2015 @ 3:19 pm

    felcity philpott said,

    you know the movie they based off of the catacombs is that really true if it is im going to find out myself me and my crew will

  70. April 10, 2015 @ 6:25 pm

    The Catacombs (Les Catacombs) - Find out why this Paris tourist attraction isn't worth a visit said,

    amtortesdi There is certainly no reason to spend your precious time in Paris visiting the Catacombs! Piles of bones and skulls await you there in a massive underground grave.

  71. May 30, 2015 @ 8:00 am

    Schabert said,

    Thank you! Go to some of the best museums in the world. Why should I go underground to see skeletons of French people moved from cemeteries just because they needed the space! And the French are now making a profit of these dead people! Thank you again. I wouldn’t visit the catacombs even if it was free!

  72. May 1, 2017 @ 10:36 pm

    Lillian said,

    To be perfectly honest I think the idea of seeing this is extremely disrespectful to the people buried there and it’s quite sick and disgusting to even consider this to be a tourist attraction.

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