My first impression of Paris was not a good one. In 2007 I went to Paris by myself and had the worst time of my life. I told myself I would never return. Regardless of how rude the people are I was determined to make this an unforgettable experience. Therefore, I decided I must see The Catacombs.
The Catacombs is a series of underground tunnels that span the length of the entire city. There are 200 miles of tombs and tunnels under the city of love. More than a million bodies piled-up, neatly for anyone to see. Today, The Catacombs has a one-mile stretch open to the public. The skeletons are piled in open air. This means you can actually tough them.
In 2007 The Catacombs was not as touristy as it is now. Today, there’s a two-hour wait for this attraction. I got in without waiting in line.
I was having such a hard time as a tourist in Paris… having a good time would make me feel like this city is worth a visit.
The Catacombs is a place where life and death coincide
In LA people are rude and obnoxious. I’m used to drivers trying to cause my death at every turn. Paris, is a different ball game. The city is safe but the people are wretched. At least in LA no one pretends to be friendly. They’re not friendly and they wear it on their face, in their clothes, in their hairstyles. Parisians gilded perception is worse to me. You can’t decipher who is rude and who is a friend.
Flash photography is not allowed inside The Catacombs. However, I was fed up with Parisians and I was not going to let some stupid rule about flash ruin my day. What are they going to do, throw me out? I am determined to have a good time, even if that was the outcome.
The New Yorker!
After wandering in the dark with skulls and skeletons of thousands of strangers, this afternoon could not get any better… Until it did…
Wandering in the dark with the only minor light and some unwelcome camera flashes I hear “James?! Is that you?!” It’s strange, I don’t know anyone in Paris. Who would know my name? I turn around and there he is… in the dark… looking right at me! Dan was in Paris and wandering the underground tombs! I met Dan in London (the first city to hit on this trip). He’s a native New Yorker.
Both of us were excited to see each other. We gave each other a big hello bear-hug. Quickly catching up when we realize we’re both having an awful time in Paris. Everyone I spoke with thought Paris was the most magical place in Europe. I’ve had such a bad time so far, this is a turn for the best!
I gave Dan my camera and he snapped this picture of me with some of the “deadites” of Paris:
We proceeded to take more pictures and break more rules… It was nice to run into a friend. It was great to feel like someone was glad to see me after feeling like the entire city of Paris hated me.
Let me break it down for you:
There are security guards at the end who will pat you down. Don’t steal any bones. Not cute!
- No flash photography. Security will yell at you
- 1 mile stretch of dead bodies piled high
- Dark, creepy & mysterious
- 13 Euros or 17 Euros depending on your package (if you buy through The Catacombs website)
- I recommend just buying it there. No need to buy a $35 inflated ticket.
- 2 hour-long wait at some points
The Catacombs is a must. I highly recommend it!