Honeymoon: Paris | Catacombs

Halloween is only five days away! Do you have any fun plans or are you enjoying the festivities quietly in the comfort of your home like my hubby and I are? We really enjoy the Halloween ambiance and decor (but don't care too much about going wild with adult costume parties and the like. I know, B-O-R-I-N-G. But I love seeing kids and pets in their costumes, and we've managed to get a few shots of Louie in her costumes this year).

Speaking of Halloween decor, as some of you may already know, we are big fans of museum quality skeletons. We only have a handful that we've managed to collect over the past few years (as a side note: we only collect oddities that have been sourced ethically -- from animals that were already found dead, usually via natural death or via road kill -- and the legal ones). I am very squeamish when it comes to blood and flesh (one of the fundamental reasons I could never be a professional in the health field and why I faint every time I have to have my blood drawn!), but I find that skeletons offer the purest form, and you can learn so much about the animal from it (e.g. what types of food they ate, decay from illness, etc.).

Which brings us to today's post -- our experience from the Paris Catacombs. The Paris Catacombs is an underground ossuary which holds the remains of nearly six million individuals. In the 18th century, the city was experiencing an overcrowding in cemeteries and came up with a solution to transfer the bones to the catacombs.


The tunnel is nearly 20 meters beneath the city -- 130 steps to go down on a spiral staircase and 83 steps to go up. Only a small portion of the catacombs (2km) is open to the public, but there are dozens of secret entrances around Paris (it's illegal to travel in these secret passages).

This wall indicates that it was built on January 5, 1847.


The ossuary entry mark: ArrĂȘte! C'est ici l'empire de la Mort ('Stop! Here lies the Empire of Death")

Inside the ossuary, the bones are grouped by the cemeteries that they came from.

 Some are neatly stacked along the corridors...
...and others arranged in patterns, like hearts and crosses.

I apologize for the blurry photos; once you are inside the ossuary there are no flashes allowed and the camera we took on this trip is not stellar in the dark. Which brings me to share another fun tidbit-- the tunnel is still dim today, but at least there are several lights that are hung up. Until the 80s, visitors had to carry around candles as a source of light! Which begs the question...Can you imagine how difficult (and spooky) it must have been for the building crew in the 18th century to transport and arrange bones in the dark?!

Visiting the catacombs was definitely a treat for us, but I wouldn't say it's for everyone -- especially if you suffer from claustrophobia. If you plan to visit, try to get there as early as possible and be prepared to wait in line for at least an hour to two hours -- the catacombs only allows up to 200 people to visit at once. We decided to pay a little bit more and purchased a group tour in advance. The advantage of traveling in a group tour is that your tour guides will wait in line for you while you walk around the neighborhood and grab a cup of coffee (or whatever you fancy), and they will give you the low-down on the history and provide interesting facts, and will also try to answer most questions you may have. If you decide to go through a group tour, you'll need to plan ahead as they tend to book up far in advance.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hi there! My husband and I are newlyweds ♥ We adopted our beagle, Louie, in 2011. This blog allows me to chronicle our lives together as a family. Thank you for stopping by! WWW.KIDGRANNY.BLOGSPOT.COM

6 comments :

  1. It must've been spooky indeed in the olden days! How interesting that you collect skeletons

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    1. Yes! Even though I love bones, I am not sure how I would have felt transporting and arranging human remains in the dark, underground!

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  2. Amazing! I would love to go here. Did you mention to us before?? But how did you get into skeletons and bones?? Such a unique interest! :)

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    1. The very first time I was intrigued with skeletons was in the second grade, when we had to write up a report about a certain dinosaur (mine was about the Stegoceras). We visited the Natural History Museum to learn more about dinosaurs, and I was in awe with the fossils and the skeleton displays! It was so interesting to me that researchers were able to decipher what these animals ate, how they lived and learned their behaviors, and even how they looked from studying these skeletons and fossils. The discoveries are endless. The other plus side is that I get to take a really close look at these animals and really learn about them in a way that I probably wouldn't have the guts to do while they are still alive.

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  3. Isn't there a inspired horror movie about it now in the
    cinema's? Anyway I have dropped the option as
    working in the health/doctor workfield as well because
    I can't stand blood/guts and whatsoever :c
    However I'd like to see the Catacomb c: Xx

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    1. Yes! The movie (As Above, So Below) came out just about the time we headed off to Europe, I think. I haven't seen it or heard reviews about it though.

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