Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Catacombs of Paris - The Underground city of Death .


 Paris, the capital of France, is often called La Ville Lumière (meaning ‘The City of Light’), however, beneath this bustling European city of 12 million people, lies a dark subterranean world holding the remains of 6 million of its former inhabitants. These are the Paris Catacombs: a network of old caves, quarries and tunnels stretching hundreds of miles, and seemingly lined with the bones of the dead.

It was only in 1859 that the final transfer of bones was undertaken during the renovation of Paris by Georges-Eugène Haussmann, and the work was finally completed in 1860. Seven years later, the catacombs were open to the public. In total the winding catacombs stretch over 300 kilometers (186 miles).

Although the Paris Catacombs are still open to the general public today, access is limited to only a small fraction of the network. It has been illegal since 1955 to enter the other parts of the catacombs.

Some other things you should know about Catacombs of Paris 

  • The Catacombs were built and conceived of in the late 18th century. Mass graveyards around Paris were overflowing, and so the bones were exhumed and arranged in the existing subterranean tunnels of the city’s ancient quarry.
  • There, you’ll find the bones of some 6 million Persians.
  • A portion of the Catacombs is open to the public, however there are dozens of secret entrances around Paris.
  • There are miles and miles of tunnels, not all of which has been mapped — getting lost if you enter illegally is a given unless you’re with an experienced guide.
  • During WWII, the Resistance used portions of the Catacombs as hideouts.
  • Ironically, the Nazis also created bunkers in this underground city of death.
  • There’s a legend about a guy who got lost and died down there in 1793. Philibert Aspairt’s body was found 11 years after his death and it’s said he was actually close to an exit.