Monday, June 05, 2023

The Catacombs of Paris

Beneath the sprawling lanes and streets of Paris, considered one of the most beautiful cities of the world, lies a scary and formidable world of the dead. Preserved in a vast underground tunnel system are millions and millions of human bones. These tunnels are called the Catacombs of Paris and their history is a fascinating one.

The Catacombs are a small part of a vast underground tunnel system beneath the city. For hundreds of years, the vast limestone deposits beneath Paris had been mined by the residents to build the city. The open-pit quarries had existed since the first century.

Starting from the 13th century onwards, the quarries ran underground as the city above continued to expand and flourish. The underground stone quarries gradually led to the formation of a vast underground tunnel system. At most places, the tunnel system almost runs parallel to the streets of Paris.


  1. I read that the reason you don't see a lot of tall buildings in Paris is because the ground is so perforated with tunnels that it can't support the weight.

    1. Real reason is simpler. Most were built before the invention and adoption of the elevator. So 4-6 floors is the highest most areas are. Newer buildings are restricted by height to not tower over historic buildings.

    2. Paris has a height restriction on construction in order to preserve/ heighten the aesthetic appeal of their tourist attractions. The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, et al lose there awe if surrounded by skyscrapers. Washington DC has a similar one for the same reason. This is not to say engineering concerns are not also a factor.

  2. Don't believe it, Paris is a shithole!

  3. A girl I knew was in Paris and with her French book was asking a cop how to get to the Catacombs. He kept grabbing his nose and saying non, non. She finally sat down, got some cheese and wine and reading the book she realized she was asking the cop, How do I get in the sewer?

  4. I was visiting Paris in 1999 with my wife and went to see the catacombs. We took the subway to the entrance and discovered they were closed that day for cleaning!


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