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.
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 August 15th. Last entrance at 19:30.
- 10 €
Adult: 10 to 12 € (Catacombs ticket and exhibition) Large family: 10 €.
Free entry for children < 18 years. Group rate available for > 10 people.
Free for (with validity proof): -Disabled persons ans their attendant -Roma’s residents -French and foreign curators
Twinned ticket Catacombs - Notre-Dame Archeologic crypte : Full price : 16€ Reduced price : 13€
Included in the Paris Museum Pass.
- Guided tours
Guided tour languages
Documentation languages (home)
Single mean time tour45 mins
Single services tour
- Unguided individual tours available permanently
- Guided individual tours available permanently