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Paris Catacombs safety

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Jun 12th, 2007, 06:34 PM
  #1
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Paris Catacombs safety

I'd like to visit the catacombs next week with my family (2 younger daughters & hubbie). Is it safe to visit? Are there Paris policemen in the tunnels?

Also, what about Pere Lachaise? Is it pretty safe to visit during the day?

Thanks in advance for your help.
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Jun 12th, 2007, 06:38 PM
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For the Catacombs I believe you go with a guide - as with the sewers.

And yes, Pere Lachaise is perfectly safe to visit.
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Jun 12th, 2007, 07:58 PM
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The catacombs are totally safe. First of all, you have to buy a ticket to get in and secondly the catacombs are patrolled by staff so that you don't take photo's or steal the bones. There are no policemen down there, nor are they needed. It's a great place to visit, not scary at all.
I have been to Pere Lachaise and thought that it was safe. The statues on some of the graves was amazing.
GO!
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Jun 13th, 2007, 03:15 AM
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The catacoms are very safe, just watch your footing as the ground can been uneven and a little wet in some places. There are staff throughout, and photography is allowed.

Pere Lachaise is also safe, and you will find other tourists strolling through looking for "famous" gravesites.
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Jun 13th, 2007, 03:33 AM
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We had no guide going through the catacombs. When we went in May there was a line up and they let so many go through at a time.You just walk through on your own, but it isn't scary and as mentioned, there are staff down there, and all other passageways are gated and closed so there is really only one passage for you to follow.

Photography was allowed but NOT flash photography.The staff down there were quick to stop anyone using a flash.

Just take note that you don't come out where you went in. You exit the catacombs(via lots of steps) at 36 rue Remy-Dumoncel (nearest metro is Alesia or Mouton Duvernet)

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Jun 13th, 2007, 03:57 AM
  #6
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Thanks all. My family really wanted to visit there. We'll go there and Pere Lachaise. It does sound like an interesting site.

Thanks for the replies!
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Jun 13th, 2007, 04:41 AM
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Hi

I felt pretty safe when I went to the catacombs. I'm not sure what you are worried about...is there any specific reason for your question?
Here is my trip report with pictures: http://gardkarlsen.com/Paris_France.htm . I have posted a bit of info about our visit to the catacombs and some pictures from "L'Empire de la Morte". Have a great trip to Paris.

regards
Gard
http://gardkarlsen.com - trip reports and pictures
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Jun 13th, 2007, 04:50 AM
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I've visited both catacombs and Pere Lachaise and had no problems with either.
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Jun 13th, 2007, 05:44 AM
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Everyone down there is dead - very, very unlikely you'll be harmed.
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Jun 13th, 2007, 06:09 AM
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We visited the catacombs in 2004 and took pics with flash. The guards were few and far between. Take a flashlight if possible. If you have bags/backpacks you will have to check them when you purchase ticket. Pere Lachaise is very beautiful and worth spending some time exploring. There is a chapel as well as flower boutique on the grounds. Get off at metro Gambetta and the walk is mostly downhill if that matters to you. However, I believe you may have to buy a map at the lower entrance (1E). You don't really have to have the map but PL is very large and the map will help you locate the tombs.Enjoy your trip to Paris.
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Jun 13th, 2007, 06:22 AM
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gard,
Someone told me that they thought that there could be ruffians down there because of the tunnels. I'll have my kids so I was worried about that. If it was just me, I'd be less concerned. I've spent a lot of time reading about agressive beggars & vendors so I am now starting to question some of my itinerary. It is good to know it is fairly safe there.
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Jun 13th, 2007, 06:40 AM
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Considering that it is paid entrance, and with only one entry/exit, I find it hard to believe that ruffians would at all want to troll the passageways for tourists.

Paris is a very safe city, safer than most NA cities. You will have no worries in any of the tourist areas of the city. At worst there may be a few (i.e. not many, maybe not even any)beggars and pickpockets in areas where tourists can be found. If you use a little common sense, you will thoroughly enjoy your visit.
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Jun 13th, 2007, 06:43 AM
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There are no ruffians (at least living) in the catacombs. As others said, you'll need to buy a ticket before you descend. I visited in August 2003 (during the heatwave when the coolness in the catacombs was very welcome) I did not use a guide -- there's only one path and you cannot get lost.

Pere Lachaise, likewise, is safe.

The sewer tour is more interesting -- and more convenient.
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Jun 13th, 2007, 06:48 AM
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To address another one of your point...I've been there 9/10 times...I have yet to see any aggessive beggars or vendors. Never. Not a one.

Unlike other countries, I think vendors in France would be mortified to stand in front of their shops and try to lure in customers with a cheesy patter of "give you a good deal" It's not in theri character

But there is an area near St Michel where waiters stand outside their greek restaurants trying to bring in the tourists, but I wouldn't call that agreessive, and you wouldn't be eating in these places anyway, right?

So, to re-iterate....Paris is safe....not "fairly" safe...safe.
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Jun 13th, 2007, 07:20 AM
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The Paris Catacombs are a small part of a large underground network of tunnels. It is the remainder of the tunnels that are sometimes explored and used by spelunker-types, and possibly those "ruffians" you've heard about. The police do search thru this network to keep it cleared out because it is off-limits to anyone other than city officials. Tourists will not know how to access these areas so there is nothing to worry about.
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Jun 13th, 2007, 09:14 AM
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Don't forget to bring a small flashlight in the catacombles. It was a great help to read the numerous inscriptions.
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Jun 13th, 2007, 09:35 AM
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If you have to check your bag at the Catacombs and come out a different way then you went in, how do you get your bag back?

Am I missing something?
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Jun 13th, 2007, 09:53 AM
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You come out on a street further south, so I suppose you just walk back up ave du Gen Leclerc to the entrance and ask for your bag.
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Jun 13th, 2007, 09:59 AM
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Hi, I loved Pere Lachaise and never felt unsafe at all. There are people selling guides outside the cemetary but there are free guides in many languages available from the main office building.

One tip - the most famous graves tend to be the ones with the most flowers etc. left on them.
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Jun 13th, 2007, 10:16 AM
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The gate attendants in the three main cemeteries (Père Lachaise, Montparnasse and Montmartre) will give you a free brochure of the famous graves if you don't forget to start with "Bonjour, Monsieur."

More detailed maps of each cemetery are available at all of the newsstands nearest to the entrance -- always quite prominently in display.
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