Paris Catacombs Tickets and Tours

The catacombs of Paris are a hidden gem for many. A very interesting place that I invite you to discover with this post in which you have all the information of interest.

Carlos Bleda

Carlos Bleda

7 min read

Paris Catacombs Tickets and Tours

Catatombs of Paris | © Karim Rezk

Under the ground of Paris are hidden hundreds of kilometers of tunnels full of mysteries and history. The catacombs are a place that, either out of respect or ignorance, many people overlook during their visit to Paris but it is a mistake not to visit them, as it is a must on your trip to the French capital.

Of the more than 300 kilometers of tunnels in the subsoil, only 1.5 can be visited legally. I summarize everything you should know before enjoying this proposal full of peculiarities.

The most complete option

Paris Catacombs Tickets

Discover the darker side of Paris

In the 18th century, the city of lights had a terrible problem with its completely overcrowded cemeteries. Discover the history of this underworld and the origin of the catacombs.

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Explore the darker side of the City of Light with this entrance to the catacombs of Paris, a place that was consecrated as the "Municipal Ossuary of Paris" in 1786. For its construction, an easily accessible site was chosen which, at the time, was located outside the capital: the former quarries of Tombe-Issoire, under the plain of Montrouge. The first evacuations took place from 1785 to 1787 and affected the largest cemetery in Paris, that of the Saints Innocents. The tombs, the mass graves and the ossuary were emptied.

On this tour you will learn all the details thanks to the audio guide in several languages included in the ticket. Be prepared to descend a total of 131 steps and climb another 112. Once inside, you will wander through this labyrinthine space of 1,500 meters in the form of tunnels twenty meters underground.

Why I like this option... It is a very curious visit that is out of the typical tourist circuits.

Recommended if... If you want to delve into the history of Paris.

How much are the entrance tickets to the catacombs of Paris?

Catacombs of Paris| ©MykReeve
Catacombs of Paris| ©MykReeve

To visit the catacombs of Paris you can either buy tickets directly at the ticket office at the entrance, next to the Montparnasse cemetery, or buy tickets online. This second option is more advisable because buying them in advance will save long queues. The normal entrance fee with audio guide is about 35 euros.

There is another more risky option but with which we can save something. If we go at the last minute we can get a special ticket called "last minute", valid for the same day and can only be purchased at the box office.

These cost from 18 € the normal ticket, from 16 € the reduced ticket and children go free, but they are limited tickets and only if the capacity allows it. So if you choose this option, you run the risk of not being able to make the visit. Also, keep in mind that this ticket does not include the audio guide and you will have to pay a supplement from 5 €.

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Are there guided tours to the catacombs of Paris?

Touring the Catacombs| ©Scott Kisha
Touring the Catacombs| ©Scott Kisha

No, the visit to the catacombs includes the audio guide with the entrance ticket, which allows you to learn all about the darkest history of the city of Paris through the detailed explanations available in several languages, of course including English.

How to get to the catacombs of Paris

Arts et Métiers Station| ©Clicsouris
Arts et Métiers Station| ©Clicsouris

The tourist entrance is located next to the Montparnasse cemeteryon Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, which is located in the southern part of Paris, almost an hour's walk from the center. For reference, from the Place de la Concorde it takes about 55 minutes to get there on foot. But it is very accessible by other means of transport that are among the best options to move around Paris and surroundings:

  • By Paris Metro: The nearest station is Denfert-Rochereau through which lines 4 and 6 pass.
  • By Bus: Lines 38 and 68 stop near the Montparnasse cemetery.
  • By car or cab: You have to put the following address in the GPS or ask the cab driver to take you to Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, 75014.

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Is it advisable to go to the Paris Catacombs with children?

Sign in one of the Catacombs| ©Oh Paris
Sign in one of the Catacombs| ©Oh Paris

Technically the entrance is allowed for children over 5 years old. But it is not the best place to visit with little ones. Apart from the dark and gloomy atmosphere of the catacombs and the skulls and human remains that can be seen during the visit, the access and the conditions of the place are not ideal for the little ones of the house.

The catacombs are 20 meters underground and there are numerous steps up and down to get in and out of them. Underground there is little light and many corridors are very narrow so it can cause a feeling of being cramped, especially for children.

Although they can be visited with children, take into account these conditions to decide whether to visit with children under your responsibility. Here are alternative plans to visit the French capital with children.

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What to see in the Catacombs of Paris

Hall of the Château des Catatombs| ©Florian Bon
Hall of the Château des Catatombs| ©Florian Bon

Of the more than 300 kilometers that are estimated to have the tunnels of the catacombs there are only 1.5 kilometers conditioned so that they can be visited. In this tour there is first an area of tunnels and a small explanatory exhibition on the history of the catacombs. And further on is the main attraction of the catacombs, the ossuary.

The ossuary area houses the remains of more than 6 million people whose skulls and hollows are arranged in very peculiar places and shapes. There are more than 800 meters of ossuaries in which stand out an area dedicated to the memory of those who died in the French Revolution, the area of the well that was used for the works of the tunnels, and the barrel of skulls. The latter is a pile of bones arranged in the shape of a barrel and is one of the most characteristic elements of the catacombs.

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How much time do you need to visit the Paris catacombs?

One of the rooms| ©Joanne
One of the rooms| ©Joanne

The tour lasts approximately 1 hour. It is important not to exceed this time because the capacity is limited to about 200 people and they have an exhaustive control of it and of the people entering and leaving the catacombs. However, in three quarters of an hour there is more than enough time to see the whole complex in detail.

Opening hours of the Paris catacombs

Details of the Tombs| ©mowolf2000
Details of the Tombs| ©mowolf2000

The Paris Catacombs are open every day of the week except Mondays. From Tuesday to Sunday, the opening hours are from 10:00 am to 8:30 pm. The last admissions are at 7:30 p.m. in the evening, so you must be there early to avoid missing out on admission.

Brief history of the catacombs

Skulls of the Catacombs| ©Passi1903
Skulls of the Catacombs| ©Passi1903

The origin of the catacombs dates back to the early 13th century when the first tunnels were dug to extract stone and materials for the construction of buildings such as the cathedral of Notre Dame. After many years of collapses and collapses, King Louis VXI ordered to refurbish them, thus solving one of the problems that Paris suffered at that time. The lack of space in its cemeteries.

From 1786 to 1859 the remains of many Parisians were continuously transferred to the catacombs. In 1814 they were conditioned for their visit and many of the stored remains were placed in peculiar forms and places for the visitors.

In 1955 it was forbidden to enter the tunnels, since it was frequent that they were used for satanic rites and not entirely legal activities. Since then and until today only a small part of the catacombs can be visited.

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Tips for visiting the catacombs of Paris

Wall of skulls in the catacombs| ©Tobias F. Wolf
Wall of skulls in the catacombs| ©Tobias F. Wolf

The visit to the catacombs of Paris is very different from other tourist sites so you must take a number of points into account.

  • The first recommendation is to buy your tickets in advance and online. If you don't, you will probably have to queue for more than an hour to get in, as the capacity is small and the demand is usually high. In high season the queues can be more than 2 hours.
  • Even if you go in summer you should be prepared with something warm, since at 20 meters underground the average temperature does not exceed 15 degrees and there is a lot of humidity.
  • If you are claustrophobic, suffer from a respiratory disease or are several weeks pregnant it is not recommended to visit the catacombs.
  • Do not carry backpacks, bags or large packages, as they will not let you access with them to preserve the ossuary. At some points it is very narrow and there is no locker service to leave them.
  • Inside you can not take pictures with flash.
  • It is not accessible for baby carriages or wheelchairs.
  • There are two flights of more than 100 stairs each up and down. Keep this in mind in order to wear good footwear.

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