Catacombs of Paris

“Arrête ! C’est ici l’empire de la mort”

Catacombs Paris

Have you already visited the labyrinth under the city that is the Catacombs of Paris?
The Empire of Death is a tour not to be missed.

But what is it exactly?

Back in the late 18th century there were major public health problems that were discovered to be tied to the city’s cemeteries. The decision was made to excavate all of the bones and transfer them to an underground quarry. The 11,000m2 space used to store the bones was transformed into an ossuary aka The Empire of Death.   

What can I see there?

Follow the maze of pathways and discover the final resting places of over 6 million bones.
At the entrance to the tunnels you will find sign posts and history boards giving you more information about the catacombs.
Before opening to the public in 1809, Inspector Héricart de Thury decided to do an extensive decorative rearrangement. The bones, previously just piled up, were organised into walls (like in the picture above). He added monuments such as columns, altars and tombs along the pathway and plaques with religious and poetic texts.

Why would I want to go there?

Navigating one of the world’s largest underground ossuaries is an interesting way to learn about the history of Paris.
It is a moving experience, the sheer quantity of skulls and bones make you consider the past and such events as the plague, epidemics, famines.
We would recommend the audio guide, available at the entrance for 5euros, as it provides explanations of the inscriptions on the walls and many interesting facts.

Is it suitable for my children?

It is creepy, yes. Skulls upon skulls upon skulls.
The official site advises against taking children under the age of 10.
Trust your parental judgement. Your child will be confronted with the concept of death, will be in close proximity to real bones but will also learn a lot.
I feel like a visit to the catacombs could be a good introductory point to get the kids asking questions about historical events.

The catacombs are located 20meters below the ground, this means that you need to descend 131 steps on a spiral staircase to enter and climb 112 steps at the other end.
The route is 1.5km total and will take you about 1 hour.
The average temperature is 14degrees and it can be very humid down there so dress appropriately!

Practical Info

The Catacombs of Paris can be found at 1 Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol Tanguy 75014 (place Denfert-Rochereau)
Opening Hours : Tuesday – Sunday 10h – 20h30
Official Website ( English Version)
There is a limited capacity in the catacombes, so often there is a long wait time to get in. We recommend you to buy your ‘skip the line’ tickets in advance here.

Check out our Out & About section to find more ideas of things to do around Paris!

Ocean Illumination at Jardin des Plantes

Ocean illumination

The enchanting light show at Jardin des Plantes is back!

This year, their magical light statues are all focused around an Ocean theme.
This gorgeous installation is accompanied by an Oceans exhibition at the Natural History Museum. So why not make an afternoon of it?

The evening walk  begins with lanterns that represent animals that have been extinct for 65 million years and as you continue you will discover species that are currently endangered and threatened in the wild.  Strategically placed information is posted along the walk to give you more details.

The 50 lanterns are split into 4 sections along the walk –

Promenade on the tropical shore
Here you will discover animals that live along the beaches such as flamingos, pelicans and hermit crabs.

ocean illumination

Dive into hot waters
Visit the heart of the colourful coral reefs, learn about the importance of protecting the coral reefs and how this is a vital ecosystem!

ocean illumination

Mysterious Abyss
Explore the depths of the sea bed. See what strange animals lark down here in the dark.

oceans illumination

Swim in cold waters
Who exists in the icey Poles? Penguins and Polar bears of course! End the walk with a look into the playful lives of these adorable creatures.

ocean illumination


Don’t miss out!
The Ocean Illumination is running every evening from 6pm until 22h45 until January 19th   

Like this? See our other ideas to get you Out & About!

Bateaux Parisiens – Cursed Cruise Escape Game

halloween paris escame game cruise bateaux parisien

Stuck for ideas these holidays?

Bateaux Parisiens are offering a unique experience for kids this Halloween.

An escape game on a cursed cruise!

The boat has been taken over by a witch and her monster minions.
Solve the puzzles to free the boat and crew from her evil curse!

The cruises are running everyday until early November at 1.15pm and 4.15pm.
Reservations should be made in advance through the Bateaux Parisiens website.

Be sure to arrive early so the children can get their face painted to blend in with the spooky decor of the cursed cruise!

As well as experiencing an escape game specially designed for children, they will also get to discover Paris from a different view point. The boat will take them past the beautiful monuments of Paris as it journeys down the Seine.

The price is 22 euros for children and accompanying adults alike.


Have a look at our other ideas to get you out and about these holidays!