Parisian catacombs, horror and discoveries, original article by Alessandro Brizzi.

Paris is a city of infinite surprises, visible and less visible. Walking along those that are the tourist symbols of the French capital is difficult to realize that under our feet there is another Paris, more intriguing and mysterious.

We find them placed in those in the Roman era were in fact the limestone quarries and that were converted into catacombs at the end of the eighteenth century. Currently, the underground system focuses on seven districts of the city. Only the 14th is however accessible. The use of quarries as a catacombs was established in 1786. At that time, one of the districts of the historic center of Paris, Les Halles, was suffering from a serious epidemic, caused by inappropriate burial procedures carried out in the small cemeteries of the district. This was especially the case in the Saints Innocents church cemetery. It was therefore decided to remove the deceased’s bones and position them in the old abandoned quarries of underground Paris. The walls of the catacombs have numerous graffiti dating back to the 18th century, while the bones of a group of monarchists killed in 1871 were all assembled into a single room.

During the Second World War the tunnels were used by the Parisians belonging to the French Resistance and it is also documented that the Germans built a bunker. 

The section open to the public is only a small part of the large underground tunnel system, which expands for over 300 km. The system itself is quite complex, and despite some tunnels displaying the name of the corresponding elevated street, you can get lost in their labyrinth. Some of the passages are also too narrow, with low ceilings and some are often partially flooded. It is not necessary to say that the visit is exclusively carried out by guided tours by specialized and responsible personnel with a lot of map and visual directions. Telephones and other necessities are also present in case of need. In total, the catacombs are home to the remains of six million Parisians, those who lived in Paris between the end of the eighteenth and the middle of the nineteenth century. Along a maze of obscure galleries and narrow corridors, the visitor discovers an infinity of bones in decorations that some might call macabre-romantic. The history of Paris can also be talked about because of its underground catacombs.

Parisian catacombs, horror and discoveries, original article by Alessandro Brizzi.




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Parisian catacombs, horror and discoveries, original article by Alessandro Brizzi.

Parisian catacombs