As we descended the stairs twenty meters below Paris, student's anticipation grew. What would I see? Will I be scared? Will it be creepy???? The Catacombs of Paris has become one of the most visited attractions in recent years. Housing over a million bones, this ossuary was created to empty out the overcrowded cemetaries because of public health concerns. Starting with the Saints-Innocents cemetary in 1785, the city continued to move remains to these underground tunnel which were a result of limestone mining.
"Arrête! C'est ici l'empire de la mort" ( Stop! Here is the empire of the dead) This sign greets us as we enter the tunnels and begin to see the bones. Lots of oohs and ahhs from the students!!! The bones are stacked carefully and the areas are marked with the name of the original cemetary and the date of extraction. As we walk along the path, we can also see hidden areas of tunnels that are closed to the public.
So many students told me this one of of their favorite activities. As we walked along, they read the history of the Catacombs, took pictures and marveled at the enormity of the caves. Certainly a must-see in Paris!