Catacombs of Paris

Old Dec 3rd, 2004, 08:39 AM
  #1  
P_M
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 25,148
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Catacombs of Paris

I recently saw a show on TV about the catacombs of Paris. Has anyone visited, and is it worth it? I will be there in January and so I am seeking as many indoor activities as I can find, in addition to museums and chocolate shops. Thanks.
P_M is online now  
Old Dec 3rd, 2004, 08:47 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 5,641
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The Parisian catacombs, by the Denfert-Rochereau metro stop - i've been there a few times and i liked them. They are a bit claustrophic at narrow points. Whether it's worth it to you or not is hard to say, but with the tour guide spiel of their medieval origins i enjoyed it very much.
PalQ is offline  
Old Dec 3rd, 2004, 09:04 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 2,713
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We didn't have time to see the catacombs our last trip to Paris, so I know we definitely want to make time on our next trip.

When I did some research on the catacombs - I didn't see anything about a guide. I guess I somehow assumed it was a self guided tour along an indicated path.

I think I would enjoy a guide more than just wandering around myself - is the guide part of the admission, and does the "tour" leave at specific times?
chepar is offline  
Old Dec 3rd, 2004, 09:27 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 331
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It seems that I read or heard that they are closed in the winter. Can anyone comment on this?

Thanks.
Robdaddy is offline  
Old Dec 3rd, 2004, 09:33 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,068
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
There's a website:
http://triggur.org/cata/index.html

A virtual underground tour. Rather creepy.
kamahinaohoku is offline  
Old Dec 3rd, 2004, 09:34 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 34,881
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I have been there and found them of minor interest, but I have a particular interest in urban planning and Paris history. I don't think most people who go there have a good reason to go nor are interested in the subject -- most view it as a Disneyland experience that they think will appeal to adolescents and comment on how it is "creepy" or "spooky". They have no respect for the dead.

I wouldn't go there in winter unless Paris urban renewal is of particular interest to you, if it is even open, as it is rather dank and dark and water dripping.
Christina is online now  
Old Dec 3rd, 2004, 09:35 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 5,641
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Well it was several years ago when i did the catacombs and a guide was required then, as was often the case at any national monument, chateau, etc. But they have been doing away with these lately so it may be self-directed now. Actually the guide was kind of a pain in some ways, and though included in the entry fee, they ubiquitously have their hand stretched out at the exit for their tip - you know when the tour is about to end when the guide stations themselves by the exit, hand extended! The catacombs i believe were hewn out for limestone extraction and then, during the anti-God French Revolution used as an ossuary to empty Parisian cemeteries cause the land they took up was too valuable to be graveyards for folks who died eons ago. The one-mile trail open to tourists at places is lined by bones and skulls several feet high and fill vaults dozens of feet deep. the front of the vault has a facade sculpted out of cross bones and skulls with a date the bones were interred and whence they came. The trek takes you over 50 feet underground via a spiral staircase. Closed on Mon.
PalQ is offline  
Old Dec 3rd, 2004, 09:44 AM
  #8  
P_M
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 25,148
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks to all for such a quick response, and a special thanks for the web page. I will be travelling with my Dad and stepmom, and I think they will get a kick out of this. I will e-mail them the link to the web page and ask what they think.
P_M is online now  
Old Dec 3rd, 2004, 09:47 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 951
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Here's another underground alternative:

On a November trip a few years ago we were caught in a drenching one afternoon, so we ducked into the Egouts (sewer) museum. It was free with our Carte Musee, I believe.

We were reading Les Miserable at the time, so we found it interesting. It wasn't damp or smelly in the areas of the tour, but bright, clean and well-planned. We enjoyed it. I wouldn't skip, say, the Musee Marmottan in favor of the sewer tour, but it was fun.

More underground delights: The Crypt D'Archeologie (I think this is the name) at Notre Dame. You enter through a separate entyway near the church. This one was also free with the Carte Musee.

I had a childhood fantasy of becoming an archeologist, so I loved this. You get to see the ancient ruins beneath the church and learn about how the city was laid out back then.

The site is small and doesn't take long to visit. I don't know if everyone would think it worthwhile to pay to get in, but I thought it was worthwhile on the Carte Musee.

Have a great trip!

BlueSwimmer is offline  
Old Dec 3rd, 2004, 09:56 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 374
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I found the catacombs extremely fascinating. I would also describe it as creepy but I mean no disrespect to the dead.

Bit of advice though, bring a small flashlight. Some areas were really dark and the flashlight was also useful for seeing details. Sounds morbid I know but the arrangements of some of the bones are incredibly elaborate.
lucygirl is offline  
Old Dec 3rd, 2004, 10:14 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,749
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I realize that the skeletons were moved to the catacombs as part of an "urban renewal" project, but I fail to understand why visiting them has much to do with fulfilling an interest in urban renewal. What would you see when visiting them which in any way "educates" you about urban renewal architecture? Yes, they are sort of creepy and fascinating -- I'll make no excuses about enjoying the experience. But I was unaware of any organized tour.
Patrick is offline  
Old Dec 4th, 2004, 06:46 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 21
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I visited both the catacombs and the sewer museum in January of this year. I found both enjoyable and a very nice change of pace from art museums. The sewer museum was free with the Carte Musee and the catacombs had a small entrance fee. We didn't use a guide for either, although I imagine they have tours.
I agree with bringing a flashlight to the Catacombs. It's really essential in order to get a good look at everything. The walkways are really tiny (claustrophobic at times) and everything was quite damp. At the exit they ask to see inside your bag to make sure you didn't steal any bones!
carm198 is offline  
Old Dec 5th, 2004, 06:18 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 1,762
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Both are fun to do on the same day ( a rainy one)....sort of an underground Paris experience. Go for it....
seafox is offline  
Old Dec 5th, 2004, 07:47 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,565
Likes: 0
Received 3 Likes on 1 Post
I will add to the list of things to bring in addition to the flashlight: wear old sneakers, dress warmly and in clothes you don't mind having what my kids refer to as "bone juice" dripping periodically on you.

For at least the past 7 years, there has been no guided tour. You might want to bring a small French/English dictionary to read the signs.
Surfergirl is offline  
Old Dec 5th, 2004, 08:07 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,605
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think the catacombs are temporarily closed due to construction for bus lane improvements along ave. du General Leclerc. Here is a site with a phone # so you could call to confirm first:
http://www.paris.fr/EN/ASP/SITES/SITE.ASP?SITE=02027

If not, then you could visit Cimitière Montparnasse, which is fairly interesting. You may be able to get a map at the main entrance, or copy one from Eyewitness: Paris or "Permanent Parisians".
http://www.paris.fr/EN/ASP/SITES/SITE.ASP?SITE=12002
Travelnut is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
aliska
Europe
6
Feb 6th, 2012 11:33 AM
acblaze
Europe
9
Mar 13th, 2008 10:13 PM
lizkn
Europe
64
Jun 7th, 2006 12:26 PM
mooky
Europe
7
Aug 3rd, 2005 06:06 PM
Tim
Europe
14
Nov 5th, 2002 07:19 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Your Privacy Choices -