Catacombs of Paris

The clickable maps and pictures within this page show data about Catacombs of Paris. The Catacombs of Paris or Catacombes de Paris is an underground ossuary in Paris, France. Located south of the former city gate (the "Barrière d'Enfer" at today's Place Denfert-Rochereau), the ossuary holds the remains of about six million people and fills a renovated section of caverns and tunnels that are the remains of Paris's stone mines. Opened in the late 18th century, the underground cemetery became a tourist attraction on a small scale from the early 19th century, and has been open to the public on a regular basis from 1874. Following an incident of vandalism, they were closed to the public in September 2009 and reopened 19 December of the same year.

The Catacombs are one of the 14 City of Paris' Museums that have been incorporated since January 1, 2013 in the public institution Paris Musées.

The official name for the catacombs is l'Ossuaire Municipal. Although this cemetery covers only a small section of underground tunnels comprising "les carrières de Paris" ("the quarries of Paris"), Parisians today often refer to the entire tunnel network as "the catacombs".

History

Background

Paris' cemeteries

Paris' earliest burial grounds were to the southern outskirts of the Roman-era Left Bank city. In ruins after the Roman empire's 5th-century fall and the ensuing Frankish invasions, Parisians eventually abandoned this settlement for the marshy Right Bank: from the 4th-century, the first known settlement there was on higher ground around a Saint-Etienne church and burial ground (behind today's Hôtel de Ville), and Right Bank urban expansion began in earnest after other ecclesiastical landowners filled in the marshlands from the late 10th century. Thus, instead of burying its dead away from inhabited areas as per usual human customs, Paris' Right Bank settlement began its life with cemeteries at its very centre.

The most central of these cemeteries, a burial ground around the 5th-century Notre-Dame-des-Bois church, became the property of the Saint-Opportune parish after the original church was destroyed by the 9th-century Norman invasions. When it became its own parish under the 'Saints Innocents' church from 1130, this burial ground, filling the land between today's rue Saint-Denis, rue de la Ferronnerie, rue de la Lingerie and the rue Berger, had become the City's principal cemetery.

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Close places of interest

Denfert-Rochereau (Paris Métro) (0.03 km)

Denfert-Rochereau is a station on the Paris Métro in France. An adjacent station with the same name is served by RER B. The station opened on 24 April 1906 with the opening of the extension of line 2 Sud from Passy to Place d'Italie. On 14 October 1907 line 2 Sud became part of line 5. On 12 October 1942 the section of line 5 between Étoile and Place d'Italie, including Denfert-Rochereau, was transferred from line 5 to line 6 in order to separate the underground and elevated sections of the metro (because the latter were more vulnerable to air attack during World War II).

Place Denfert-Rochereau (0.04 km)

Place Denfert-Rochereau, previously known as Place d'Enfer, is a public square located in the 14th arrondissement of Paris, France, in the Montparnasse district, at the intersection of the boulevards Raspail, Arago, and Saint-Jacques, and the avenues René Coty, Général Leclerc, and, as well as the streets Froidevaux, Victor-Considérant and de Grancey. It is one the largest and most important squares on the left bank of the Seine.

Gare de Denfert-Rochereau (0.12 km)

Gare de Denfert-Rochereau is a railway station in Paris. It was one of the first stations of the French railway network, and is still in use as a station of Paris' RER line B. Built from 1842 and opened on 7 June 1846, the station building had a circular shape as it possessed a rail loop. Indeed the station was the Parisian terminus of a line from Sceaux. This system, named "Arnoux" (after its inventor), was abandoned at the end of the 19th century as it required the construction of specific engines capable of travelling on very tight curves and broad gauge tracks of .

Mouton-Duvernet (Paris Métro) (0.25 km)

Mouton-Duvernet is a station on line 4 in Paris' 14th arrondissement. The line 4 platforms were opened on 30 October 1909 when the southern section of the line opened between Raspail and Porte d'Orléans. The name refers to the Rue Mouton-Duvernet, named after 19th-century general Régis Barthélemy Mouton-Duvernet.

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Sources

Text based information has been extracted from various Wikipedia articles. Weather information is provided by OpenWeatherMap. Location distances have been calculated based on Wikipedia information. Thanks to Google, BING and OSM (Open Street Map) for map related material.

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