Secrets of the Catacombs

I guess by seeing the featured image above, you were probably wondering how come I would post a creepy picture like this one. Ironically enough, I just finished watching this horror movie called, “As Above, So Below.” It’s a movie about a small group exploring the Catacombs of Paris, and basically many of them die and so forth. And I just recently visited the Catacombs of Paris.

For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, the Catacombs of Paris are basically underground ossuaries holding the remains of six million Parisians. It’s full of old tunnel networks, caves and dark secrets. It has been open to the public since 1874. Luckily today, they restricted almost the entire place from the public, which is good because if it wasn’t, who knows how many people would get lost.

My wait to the Catacombs began with an hour wait outside from the barred entrance. And as I arrive in front, there are various signs in different languages saying that I’m about to enter the empire of the dead. My visit began with a narrow spiral staircase going down around 20 meters underground. After, you’ll find yourself in a small room with the entrance to the Catacombs on your right.

When you first walk inside, visually it’s a bit creepy but psychologically it’s even creepier because you already know what to expect – the final resting place of six million Parisians. The first thing you will expect is the scent of the area, now it doesn’t smell bad but it does smell like the inside of an old abandoned church. After you experience the smell, it gets better.

As you are walking, you can see many bones and skulls piled up into pillars and some even placed to make a heart and other forms. It was quite nice.

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Many signs were placed on the walls saying, “Respectez les morts” – Respect the dead. Many visitors were respecting the dead, meaning, not doing anything stupid with the skulls and bones, but many people weren’t. I actually witnessed a man putting his arm around a skull and making a peace sign. Some people are honestly stupid and disrespectful. I guess the notion of respecting the dead was a bit lost in the crowd.

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In some parts of the Catacombs which are open to the public, you’ll find a few security guards here and there making sure everyone respects the cemetery. But because they’re not everywhere watching you, that doesn’t mean you can trash the place, that said, I actually found a few beer cans and cigarette buds on the ground.

But even with the beer cans and cigarette buds on the floor, I still had an epic time. I found my visit quite interesting and it was a fun experience.

At the end of my visit, unfortunately, was a 30-meter narrow spiral staircase going up, but as you exit to civilization, you’ll find a cute gift shop. There you can purchase skull shaped cookies, artwork, and mugs.

If you like this kind of stuff, I definitely suggest this place as a place to visit because it’s something you have never seen before and also because it’s a well-known place with a lot of history behind it.

 

 

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