Catacombs, Paris, France
Public health problems in Paris, linked to the city’s crowded cemeteries, prompted French officials to take drastic action in the late Eighteenth Century: to transfer their long-buried contents to an underground site beneath the Plain of Montrouge.
No-one imagined at the time that, one day, people would wish to come and visit such a macabre place.
Welcome to the Paris Catacombs, a vast underground ossuary, 20 metres beneath the surface and home to the remains of more than six million people.
The first were moved here from the Saints-Innocents Cemetery, Paris’ largest, in 1785, and since 1809, when the Catacombs were opened to the public, this is a place that has held a strange appeal to those drawn to dark things. The skulls and corpses are everywhere, with the 11,000 square-metre space full to bursting with bones. Like to see it for yourself? Take a friend and be sure not to linger too long.