Nestled in the heart of France, the city of Paris houses some of the world’s most famous structures. The Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral are among the city’s most famous photo spots, but lurking under the bustling city is a destination reserved for those who have strong stomachs and don’t mind cramped spaces. Established in 17388, the famed Catacombs of Paris have grown to become one of the hottest tourist destinations in one of the world’s most famous cities. Due to cemeteries in the area quickly growing full, the city needed a solution to house the remains of the dead, and the Catacombs quickly became filled with skeletal remains. Referred to as “The World’s Largest Grave,” the Catacombs are the home to 6 million sets of human remains.
Those who take the time to tour the Catacombs are treated to truly amazing sights that most people will never get the chance to see. Sure, seeing the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe are the most popular things to do while visiting France, but the Catacombs of Paris offer a unique look at the history of the area. Thanks to the interest of others, we were able to find 15 photos of the Catacombs of Paris that captured some terrifying imagery. Hidden figures and chilling warnings can be found throughout the Catacombs, and these pictures will have you booking the next ticket to Paris to dive right into the grave of 6 million souls.
15. In Love With Death
Captured among the rest of the bones and skulls that fill the Catacombs of Paris, this heart-shaped design can be found in the wall, and shows visitors an interesting juxtaposition between life and death. Though their bodies are gone and their feelings cease to exist, the arrangement of the bodies in the shape of a heart were perhaps meant to give comfort to mourners who went to pay their respects to their fallen family and friends. After all, the Catacombs have been around for several centuries, and mourners have no doubt spent plenty of time visiting their lost loved ones.
It may seem odd that the Catacombs of Paris are a tourist destination, but people come from all over to take a tour of the underground grave. The initial design of the Catacomb was virtually nonexistent, but people worked diligently to include designs like the heart to make it more interesting to people coming to see the bones.
14. Skulls In The Rubble
What was once a disorganized underground grave soon saw it become aesthetically pleasing to visitors, and the Catacombs currently employ effective and pleasing ways to house all of the skeletons that it holds. Sandwiched between other uniform sets of bones, these skulls give onlookers a glimpse into the hard work that was put into arranging the millions of skeletons that are in the Catacomb. The bones that surround the skulls in the patterns along the wall are sets of femurs. This was done in such a way that allowed for clear walking paths for visitors to make their way through the landmark.
Parts of the Catacomb are in the Mines of Paris, and the man tasked with making the Catacombs a place where visitors could come visit was Louis-Etienne Hericart de Thury, who was the director of the Paris Mine Inspection Service. His tireless efforts gave way to the beautiful designs found in the walls of the Catacomb today.
13. A Wall Of Bodies
This shot offers us another angle of the designs employed by Louis-Etienne Hericart de Thury, and gives viewers a pretty good idea about the sheer magnitude of corpses that were used to design the walls. The femurs and skulls are all neatly stacked on top of each other, looking both aesthetically pleasing and completely horrifying. There are several rings of skulls between the sets of femurs, and this design is among the most basic in both look and concept that you will find during your tour of the area.
Though people were allowed to visit the Catacombs of Paris sparingly in the early 1800s, it wouldn’t be completely open to the public until 1874, over 100 years after it was established. It took years for all of the skeletons to make their way over to their final resting location, and it took an intense amount of labor to make it what it is today.
12. Dedicated To All Lost Souls
The last two photos that were included on this list showed the basic sandwich design of femurs and skulls in the wall. The simple design was effective, but the more complex designs that can be found in the Catacombs is one of the reasons why people flock from all over to tour the underground grave. While the same two bones are used in this room here, their complex design gives you an entirely new appreciation for the work that was put into arranging the bones. The ring of skulls around the bottom of the wall are reminiscent of the simpler designs, but the band of skulls that make their way around the top provide a beautiful contrast.
Many rooms and sections of the Catacombs are organized by the original cemeteries from which the skeletons came from. Crosses and plaques can be found throughout the Catacomb as well, giving visitors more than just bones to feast their eyes on.
11. A Close-Up Of A Skull
This is a truly beautiful photograph of the skulls that form bands around the walls of the Catacombs. The photographer was able to get up-close and personal with some of the lost souls in the Catacomb. Given the low amount of light that is available, the shadows that are on the right side of the photo make the skull in the photo’s center exponentially creepier. Because of the efforts of those who help maintain the cave, the skulls appear to be pretty well preserved, allowing for visitors to continue taking tours of the Catacombs without seeing mass amounts of decay.
Near the top of the photo, you can see a skull that appears to be out of place. I would imagine that after dealing with 6 million sets of bones, it probably got incredibly difficult for workers to find room for everything. Nevertheless, the skull near the top still adds to the chilling effects that the catacomb can have on people.
10. Faces In The Rocks
The bones that make up the Catacombs are no doubt the calling card of the famed location, but a close look at the walls of the cave will reveal some of the most horrifying imagery that you will ever want to see. These screaming faces in particular look like something straight out of a horror film, and look scarier than most of the bone formations in the Catacombs. Captured beautifully here in this photo, these faces in the wall look like they are yelling out in pain, and I’m sure that seeing them in person is far more terrifying than this photo shows.
Despite being home to some true horrors, much of the Catacombs are completely off limits. This, of course, doesn’t stop everyone from breaking the law and seeing the forbidden parts of the Catacomb. Should you get caught, you could get hit with a fine, so it may be best to just stick with your tour group.
9. Cemetery Deposits
As we have mentioned before, the Catacombs of Paris are not only filled with bones, but they are also filled with signs as well. The sign pictured here mentions that the bones found in this room were brought over from another cemetery in 1787. The sign is centered on a wall and is large enough to be seen by all. The overflow from other cemeteries were one of the reasons why the development of the Catacombs of Paris was necessary, and seeing these markings showing where the bodies came from could have been a way for mourners to quickly track down their loved ones to pay their respects.
These chilling signs show you how many cemeteries worth of bodies were able to be fit into the Catacombs of Paris, and the years it took to get them all into their final location must have been taxing on all of the people involved with the project.
8. A Walkway Through Death
Under the city of Paris, the Catacombs of Paris are connected to what was once the thriving Mines of Paris. They are no longer in use, and they remain illegal to roam through. Much like the Catacombs of Paris, fines can be levied by law enforcement for those who are caught trespassing. The 1.1-mile section that is used for the Catacombs of Paris are among the only areas that can legally be viewed by travelers and locals alike. The Catacombs are filled with a number of different rooms and are all connected with different walkways and hallways for people to navigate through.
The artwork that can be found in the Catacombs of Paris may not rival that of the Parthenon, but it is still beautiful to look at. France is full of truly beautiful art and architecture, and people who go to the Catacombs get to see things that most people will never be bold enough to see.
7. Terrors In The Catacombs
Unlike an earlier picture that showed a close-up of a skull with interesting lighting, this photo is a terrifying close-up of skulls that appear to have suffered from some water damage. In the past, there have been water leaks into the Catacombs of Paris, and it would appear that these two skulls were victims of such water damage. Most of the bones in the Catacombs appear well-preserved, but these two have definitely sustained some damage during their time there. It makes them look even creepier, almost like something found in The Goonies.
Hopefully, leaks that happen in the future will be taken care of as quickly as possible. It would be a crying shame for the Catacombs of Paris to sustain enough water damage to eventually shut it down to the public. It is an incredibly popular tourist spot, and most people are still waiting for their chance to go and see it firsthand.
6. A Display Of Bones
Pictured here in this photo, the dirt floors that run through the Catacombs of Paris have been walked on by unfathomable amounts of visitors throughout the last several centuries. Because the photo was taken near the dirt, we are able to get a good perspective about the height of the walls, as well as the size of the walkways that people make their way through during their respective tours. To the left of the photo, a cross is visible, hanging eerily on the walls much like the signs announcing the prior locations to the skeletons in their new rooms.
The 1.1-mile section of the Mines of Paris that makes up the Catacombs has many areas that cannot be visited by people, but what people are able to see no doubt induces nightmares. The bones, faces in the walls, and cryptic messages are downright terrifying. The wall to the right has 3 rows of skulls in between the rows of femurs, and the light in the back gives visitors just enough light to make their way around.
5. Empire Of The Dead
Loosely translated into “the empire of the dead,” this sign is more accurate than it even realizes. There are 6 million skeletons in the Catacombs of Paris. When compared to the 460,000 active duty service members in the United States Army, this dead empire would have incredible strength in numbers if they were still alive. Thank god the zombie apocalypse isn’t a thing, because the citizens of Paris would be in for a world of pain. There are only 2.2 million citizens in Paris, making their fight against the empire of the dead a massive uphill battle.
This chilling sign can be found in one of the hallways in the Catacombs, and no doubt strikes fear in visitors. We have all watched way too many science fiction films to feel completely comfortable around 6 million skeletons. But, this is a once in a lifetime experience, so why not have some fun?
4. A Warning To All
The signs that can be found inside this gigantic grave are primarily markers that tell you the original locations of the skeletons, but this one here delivers a terrifying message to those making their way through the Catacomb. It is a reminder that death comes for everyone on this planet, and it alludes to the fact that neither morning or night is guaranteed for anyone. Being surrounded by 6 million skeletons, it is almost impossible to forget that death comes for us all, but this sign still made its way into the famed Catacombs to serve as an extra reminder.
While it is not something that people like to dwell on during their daily life, a quick stroll through the Catacombs of Paris will have any person contemplating their own mortality. The skeletons found here were once people who had lives, families, and hobbies. They had careers and memories, and now rest underground.
3. A Looking In View
In my opinion, this is by far the creepiest room that I found in the Catacombs of Paris. It might not be the most artistic photo that we have ever seen, but my goodness this photo will send chills up the spines of any horror fan. Much like the walls of the Catacomb, this room appears to be filled with femur bones and skulls. However, they differ greatly when it comes to arrangement and presentation. Looking down into this circular pit, visitors are able to feast their eyes on a perfectly situated ring of bones that make their way around the floor. The bones are split up into individual rows, all culminating in a stack of skulls in the dead center of the photo.
I truly appreciate the fact that it is not just the walls in this grave that are amazing to look at. The team that helped with redesigning the area did an exceptional job in making virtually every ounce of space a spectacle.
2. Stacking The Bodies High
Taken in one of the chambers that comprises the Catacombs of Paris, this eerie photo might be one of the more intriguing photos that you will find of the mausoleum. The two pillars on the right, darkened by shadows, really help make the room feel like a grave site that could be found above ground. The piece in the middle of the photo almost looks like an altar, giving this chilling room another supernatural element. Despite these two standout things, the most interesting aspect of this photo might just be the column of skulls that run down the center of the photo, neatly making their way into the altar in the center.
This room, while not at terrifying as our last entry, still provides visitors with enough chills to keep them satisfied while they make their way to the next chamber. It seems that each chamber holds its own secrets, and this one here is no exception.
1. A Chilling Hallway
The final entry on our list is a look through one of the many hallways that make up the Catacombs of Paris. Each chamber is connected by the hallways, allowing guests the opportunity to take their time and sink their teeth into the terrors of the Catacomb while slowly making their way through their tour. This chilling photo does an exceptional job in capturing the eerie vibe produced by the underground grave. Walking through the Catacombs of Paris is said to be one of the more intense experiences in Paris, and this photo here shows exactly why.
Due to the millions of skeletons in the Catacomb, it is considered one of the most haunted places in the world, and that reason alone is enough to get a bevy of visitors throughout the year. The price of entry is relatively inexpensive as well, making this affordable, haunted location a must-see while in the area.
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