17 Bizarre Facts About Catacombs of Paris

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Introduction: The Catacombs of Paris. Are you interested to learn new daring but exciting facts about the former underground quarries of Tombe-Issoire in Montrouge, in the outskirts of Paris? In today’s article, we shall be revealing some rather interesting information about this incredible and fascinating tourist destination. Read on for more exciting information…

I don’t about you, but graveyards give me the creeps! They are some of the strangest and creepiest places on the planet. So, I ask, what scarier than your typical graveyard? I’ll tell you what! It’s the world’s largest graveyard that houses the remains of millions of Parisian’s corpses and is located directly underneath France’s capital.

Yeah! You read that right, the creepy catacombs of Paris are located just beneath the city of love, fashion and beautiful culture, Paris. Thousands of people troop in every year to visit this beautiful city of love, fashion, romance, and culture, but very few are aware of the dark secrets that are hidden under its street.

But, we will be revealing some of those secrets to you our dear reader today. Some of which, will leave you absolutely bewildered and breathless.

All You Need To Know About Catacombs of Paris

17. Not all Part of the Catacombs is Allowed to be Visited

Catacombs of Paris entrance

The first incredible, yet creepy fact about the catacombs is that not all parts of this underground cemetery are open to visitors. The tunnels span over hundreds of miles, but only about a mile of it is allowed to be visited by people. The remaining areas are considered unsafe and therefore, restricted to visitors.

16. The Catacombs has a Number of Secret Passages that Leads Inside

The Catacombs has a Number of Secret Passages that Leads Inside

Like every other creepy graveyard, and hunted castles you see in horror movies, the catacombs have a number of secret passages to the tunnel, many manholes also have access to this place.

15. It is Actually Believed to be Hunted

It is Actually Believed to be Hunted

So am I like, why not? I mean though, the place houses the bones of millions of people and is a great contender for being the most haunted place in the city. But, according to paranormal investigators, who claimed the catacomb is not haunted, people have come out in recent times to claim they have video evidences that are pretty convincing that they saw images of ghosts. Yikes!

14. Strange Cinema Room in a Graveyard

Strange Cinema Room in a Graveyard

This very fact is weird, funny, and fascinating at the same time. Whether you believe it or not, there’s an underground cinema in the catacombs. So am Like, what would a cinema be doing inside a graveyard?

Well, in 2004, police officials on their usual patrol and training exercise down the tunnels of the catacombs came across a standard, fully functional cinema in one of the unexplored area of the tunnel. Surprising as it were, the cinema was fully equipped with a screen, and a restaurant bar.

13. Wines in the Celler?

 Wines in the Celler?

But there actually were! In 2017, it was discovered that catacombs had inside of it, good wine cellers within its depth. But, however, you can’t find them there anymore as they were all stolen after a group of thieves broke into the vault of the apartment which contained vintage wine.

12. It was used a Bunker During The Second World War

It was used a Bunker During The Second World War

The catacombs wasn’t just a graveyard that housed the dead. It was also used as a bunker during the world war II by both sides; The Nazis also had a presence in the catacombs. To date, there are still evidences that proved that these bunkers still remain in the catacombs.

11. Cataphiles Communities

Cataphiles Communities

Our eleventh fact is one I find pretty disturbing personally. I mean, it’s a graveyard, but nonetheless, there are some who find it more adventurous and preferred to spend their leisure time in the tunnels.

These Cataphile communities were believed to enjoy exploring the depths of the tunnels, and also helped all potential visitors and tourists to the underground city by providing maps.

10. A Swimming Spot for Vagabonds

A Swimming Spot for Vagabonds

I rather have a warm, cozy bath in my bathtub thank you! But for the Cataphiles, they claim it’s more refreshing, but I say it’s more weird rto think of the idea of it. It’s water in a graveyard for Christ’s sake. Plus, the water is rarely seen clean.

9. The Unknown Periphery of the Expanse

The Unknown Periphery of the Expanse
entrance to the catacombs in paris

The tunnels of the catacombs are more expanse inside than you would ever imagine. Where the remains of the deceased are laid is known as the Ossuaries. To date, the extent to which this ground goes remains unknown, after being mapped for over 200 miles centuries ago.

8. Mushroom Cultivation in the Tunnels

Mushroom Cultivation in the Tunnels

You probably would find it quite strange that something a human consumes would be grown in between human remains, but the cultivation of Button Mushrooms is a practice that dates way back in the 19th century. And to make it even weirder and awkward, the practice is recognized and approved by the Horticultural Society of Paris.

7. A Flood Of Corpses

A Flood Of Corpses

When we say “housed over six million deceased Parisians” don’t take this figure lightly. Because what is now the largest graveyard in the world was non-existent before the 18th century.

Initially, the bodies of dead Parisians were laid to rest in the infamous Les Innocents, Paris’ oldest and most used graveyard. However, it became a problem after the cemetery began getting overcrowded with corpses which led to unbearable odors of death choking the environment.

Thereafter, people began to dig up bodies from the old graveyard and moving them to what is now the catacombs. And so, slowly it was created, the catacombs!

6. It took nearly a year to move the bodies to the ossuaries

It took nearly a year to move the bodies to the ossuaries

During the time when the bodies of dead Parisians began overflooding the previously used cemetery, it took approximately a year to have them moved to their final place of rest. This act was only done at night and was finally accomplished in 1780.

5. The Bones Are Arranged In ‘Decorative’ Displays

The Bones Are Arranged In ‘Decorative’ Displays

The facts just keep getting creepier and creepier. One fascinating thing about the catacombs is that it has an incredible display of bones that ordinarily should freak you out, but it would appear really impressive if you get to see it.

The bones brought to the catacombs during the 1780s were arranged into shapes and decorations, and the skulls of the deceased were placed in line along the walls, as with other various lurid remains. One of such iconic display is the ‘Barrel’.

4. Lost Man Body Found Eleven Years Later

Lost Man Body Found Eleven Years Later

Obviously, this should have been expected sooner or later. I mean, the place is creepy, and very well expanded with plenty of tunnels. It can be easy for anyone to get lost if they go astray inside the tunnels.

Like in the case of Philibert Aspairt, who got lost inside the tunnels and died in 1793. His body was later found 11-years later, and from the investigation, it looked like he was headed close to the exit. Wonder how long it took him to find the exit. Creepy!

3. You’ll find Some Amazing Graffiti Down There

You'll find Some Amazing Graffiti Down There

Down in the crypts of the Catacombs, you’ll find some pretty amazing graffiti dating all the way back to the French Revolution.

2. The Tunnels have a Micro-climatic Setting

The Tunnels have a Micro-climatic Setting

The temperature down there is always 13°C (55°F), it feels warm in winter and cold in summer. This only happens inside the tunnels but is a different experience outside.

1. The Catacombs House The Remains Of Over Six Million Dead Parisians

 The Catacombs House The Remains Of Over Six Million Dead Parisians
skulls at the catacombs of Paris

Now, to the last bizarre fact about the catacombs of Paris. I believe You should know by now. I mean, you did read the beginning of the post, am I right? But, just in case you skipped the prelude, the catacombs of Paris are a massive burial ground that contains the remains of over 6 million dead Parisians.

That’s quite a lot for a single graveyard. But, that’s what it is. The largest graveyard in the world!

Which of these bizarre fact about the Catacombs of Paris is more captivating?


About Author

David Samuel is the Senior Writer for Porumba. He is a writer, Economist and loves research.