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"Avez-vous vu un fantôme?" I asked the man at the ticket counter in my best French if he has seen a ghost. "Je ne sais pas," was his reply. The man smiled and shrugged his shoulders. Last week, I spent three days in Paris, France and had the chance to visit the Catacombs. I knew there were human bones stacked in the tunnels under the city, but I wasn't prepared for just how many. I was ready to hear more accounts of the moving shadows and ghostly voices that have been reported in those bowels of Paris throughout the centuries, but I wasn't ready for how the experience would make me feel.
The Catacombs of Paris are a network of tunnels and caves that run for more than 300 kilometers under the city. To build a city, you need materials. The Romans were the first to quarry the limestone in the area in 60 B.C.E.; however, those quarries were the open-air kind -- the Romans just dug out the rock that was exposed. As the city grew and covered the landscape, tunneling would be required to get more building materials. In 1180 C.E., Philippe-Auguste became King. He was a major proponent of tunneling to quarry in order to build ramparts to protect the city, and it was under his rule that this tunnel network would truly be born.
You will no doubt see the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and Notre-Dame on your next visit to Paris. How about something different for your travel itinerary? Take a journey under the City of Lights to the dark tunnels known as the Paris Catacombs. Indulge your morbid curiosity. It is an experience you will never forget.
The entrance is just across the street from the Denfert-Rochereau metro stop. After you purchase your ticket you will proceed through the gate and descend 286 steps of a tight spiral staircase. When you reach the bottom you will enter a portion of over two hundred miles of tunnels that run below the streets of Paris.
Five minutes of walking and you will encounter a sign indicating the beginning of what you came to see – the catacombs. Are you ready for this? Arm and leg bones are stacked neatly like four-foot high woodpiles along both sides of the dimly lit tunnel. Two rows of skulls run parallel within the stacks, one at ankle height and the other at waist height. Occasionally there is an artistic variation in the skull pattern, such as the shape of a heart. At one point the cave extends well beyond the fence-like stack of bones. A moldy green skull keeps watch over the entire space, which is filled in with bones as far as the eye can see. The tunnels and bones go on and on and on.
Originally posted by Plato986
Anyone hear about the guy who died down there a few years ago? I think he was filming a documentary, and got lost..or caved in.
Originally posted by kinslayer
yeah it's a good thing she made me put it back because they searched my bag on the way out and god knows what the french would have done to me for stealing a femur.