In Paris, unimaginable treasures sometimes linger just below the surface. Under the Haussmannian boulevards sits one of the city’s first museums, the Catacombs, with its unique ossuary.
Created in 1785 to hold the remains from the Holy Innocents' Cemetery, today nearly 6 million bones lie in the ancient limestone quarries, including those of the writer Jean de La Fontaine, the politicians Danton and Robespierre, as well as the famous Man in the Iron Mask.
Skulls below the pavings
The journey begins 20 metres below the Place Denfert-Rochereau, in the city’s mysterious limestone quarries with their engraved street signs. Here, you will find many sculptures, including an astonishing model of the Port-Mahon Fortress, not to mention a well filled with blue-green water of great purity. The tour is about 1.5 kilometres long in total.
At the entrance to the ossuary are two imposing ornate pillars inscribed with the words: “Halt, here is the Empire of Death.” And the sight beyond will leave you breathless, with its vast galleries adorned with perfectly arranged skulls and bones interspersed with maxims or poems in French and Latin. Guided visits and audioguides in French, English, Spanish and German are on offer to help unveil all the secrets and mysteries of this place untouched by time.
Discover the Musée de la Libération de Paris (Liberation Museum of Paris), next to the Catacombs.
Access and contact
Metro and RER B : Denfert-Rochereau Bus : 38, 68 Paid parking : Boulevard Saint-Jacques Vélib' : 2 avenue René Coty
Days and opening hours
Every day throughout the year between 10 am and 8.30 pm. Closed on Monday. Closed exceptionally on January 1st, May 1st and December 25th. Last entrance at 19:30 Tuesday-Sunday 9.45am-8.30pm (last admission at 7.30pm).
- Group rate available for > 10 people.
Twinned ticket Catacombs - Archaeological Crypt of the Ile de la Cité Full price : 17€ Reduced price : 15€.
- Guided tours
Guided tour languages
Documentation languages (home)
Bulletin board languages
Single mean time tour60 mins
Single services tour
- Unguided individual tours available permanently
- Guided individual tours available permanently
- Copyright image:
- Pierre Antoine