The Catacombs of Paris are a series of tunnels and disused quarries used to store the bones of the dead that were once interned in the cities overcrowded cemeteries from the eighteenth century and earlier. The bones we transported there from the late eighteenth century from several condemned cemeteries in central Paris. The condemned cemeteries were the source of illness to surrounding residents in the rapidly expanding Paris of the time. The main cemetery “The Cemetary of the Innocent” had been in use for ten centuries.
Since the completion of the project, the catacombs have been a fascination to many and from the early times were visited by many prominent members of society. The tunnels were used by the French resistance during World War II and at the same time the Germans established an underground bunker in one section.
It has been open as a more general tourist attraction to the public since 1867, and must surely be one of the most unique (if not grim) tourist attractions in Paris.