The Catacombs Of Paris

l’Ossuaire Municipal. It’s the resting place of the remains of six million people, hidden from sunlight in part of the underground mines of Paris, France.

The Catacombs of Paris were created in the 18th century as an answer to the problem of overflowing cemeteries, particularly within the city limits.

The way things worked back then, the dead would be buried in cemeteries, covered, and a new layer for burials would be created. Areas would fill up rather quickly, as you can imagine.

Entrance Into The Paris Catacombs
Image: Flickr/NatalieMaynor via CC by 2.0

This, naturally, led to sanitation concerns, as the primary source of water in Paris was wells. Organic matter from the decaying corpses would seep into the ground, leaving a situation that was simply not acceptable.

In the late 18th century, the remains were moved to an area of the carrières de Paris, or the quarries of Paris. These were abandoned mines beneath the streets, which made for the perfect ossuary.

The Catacombs
Image: Flickr/Grace via CC by 2.0

Walls lined with bones and skulls, winding macabre corridors, and sepulchers cast in shadow. A trip through the Catacombs of Paris is a surreal and sobering journey through the mists of our own mortality.

Rob Schwarz

Writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. Editor-in-chief of Stranger Dimensions. Might be a robot.