The Catacombs of Paris
Paris has a deeper and stranger connection to its underground than almost any city, and that underground is one of the richest. The arteries and intestines of Paris, the hundreds of miles of tunnels that make up some of the oldest and densest subway and sewer networks in the world, are just the start of it. Under Paris there are spaces of all kinds: canals and reservoirs, crypts and bank vaults, wine cellars transformed into nightclubs and galleries. Most surprising of all are the carrières—the old stone quarries that fan out in a deep and intricate web under many neighborhoods, mostly in the southern part of the metropolis.
These sections of caverns and tunnels have been transformed into underground ossuaries, holding the remains of about 6 million people. Opened in the late 18th century, the underground cemetery became a tourist attraction on a small scale from the early 19th century, and has been open to the public on a regular basis from 1874.
The official name for these subterranean veins is l’Ossuaire Municipal. Although the cemetery portion covers only a small section of underground tunnels comprising “les carrières de Paris”, Parisians today often refer to the entire tunnel network as “The Catacombs.”
Nothing in the world destroys me more than this.
Not knowing where Robespierre and Saint-Just’s remains are placed is honestly one of the saddest and more despairing feelings I can experience.
It is so difficult to even look at pictures of this. All those skulls used to be people once. They used to be faces — smiling, crying, laughing. Might have been a princess, might have been a peasant, might have been Desmoulins, might have been Robespierre. We’ll never know.
I wanted to go. :’( But I ran out of time.
I have been here! I was extremely grateful, not only to see the place but also because it had started snowing while we were outside and I detest snow (and was also freaking out that my much small friend didn’t have enough clothes on for the weather because I am everyone’s mother, ahahah).
BUT ALSO IT WAS REALLY GOOD. WE HAD JAFFA CAKES.
This looks amazing and is totally going on my “Places to see before I die” list.