Catacombs Of Paris
Things to Do in Paris
Image courtesy of Deposit Photos
Possibly the best-known catacombs in the world (there are seven major ones), the Catacombs of Paris are not the oldest nor the largest. Whereas the catacombs in Rome were established largely due to lack of land burial space, Paris catacombs provided a solution for desperately over-crowed cemeteries. Some six to seven million bodies were transferred from graveyards in the 1700s and 1800s.
Why didn’t cemeteries just pile bodies (or caskets) on top of one another? There is a minimum depth at which most municipalities and cities deem safe for underground burial, so stacking eventually results in corpses too near the surface, and dead bodies can be harbours for disease. Parisians at the time were concerned for health reasons.
While a little creepy, and definitely not for everyone, the Catacombs of Paris are extensive, but only a couple of hundred feet, about 60 metres, are accessible to the public. These have been “arranged” for general viewing, with artistic layouts of human bones and skulls. Another aesthetic form of expression from artsy Paris...