Catacombs tickets and tours

The catacombs of Paris are a hidden gem for many. A very interesting place that I invite you to discover, and for this reason I leave you this post with all the information of interest.

Catacombs tickets and tours

The catacombs of Paris | © Karim Rezk

Hundreds of kilometers of tunnels full of mystery and history are hidden under the floor of Paris. The catacombs are a place that many people overlook when visiting Paris, whether out of respect or ignorance. It would be a mistake not to visit them, because they are one of the most interesting and unusual places in the French city.

Of the more than 300 kilometers of underground tunnels, only 1.5 kilometers can be legally visited. It is not a normal visit as in a museum or a cathedral, because the visit to the catacombs is full of special features. All these peculiarities and all the information you need to know about this special place are summarized in the following points.

Guided tour of the Paris Catacombs with access to restricted areas

The best option

If you want to visit one of the most unusual places in Paris without standing in line for hours, this is the best way to buy a ticket to the Paris Catacombs.

From 100 € at Hellotickets

For two hours you can walk through the catacombs of Paris under the guidance of an English-speaking guide. The tour takes place in small groups so you can enjoy an already unforgettable experience even more.

With this ticket you will also have access to the restricted areas of the catacombs.

Recommended if. you want to be carefree and avoid the queues at the entrance.

How much do the tickets for the Paris Catacombs cost?

The Catacombs of Paris| ©MykReeve

To visit the Paris Catacombs, you can either buy tickets directly at the ticket office at the entrance next to Montparnasse Cemetery, or you can buy them online. The latter option is more advisable as buying in advance saves long queues. The prices for the normal ticket with audio guide are:

  • Normal ticket for 1 person: 29€.
  • Reduced ticket: 27€.
  • Ticket for children between 4 and 17 years old: 5€.

There is another, more risky option, but with which we can save a bit. If you come at the last minute, you can buy a special ticket called "Last Minute", which is valid for the same day and can only be bought at the ticket office.

These cost €15 for full admission, €13 for reduced admission and children are free, but tickets are limited and only available if there is sufficient capacity. So there is a risk that if we go at the last minute, we will not get tickets and we will not be able to visit them. For these tickets, the audio guides are sold separately and cost an extra €5.

Are there guided tours of the Paris catacombs?

Visiting the catacombs| ©Scott Kisha

The visit to the catacombs is always with a guide, as access without an accredited guide is not allowed. However, after the guide has given us the appropriate indications, we can choose to take the tour with him or move freely along the given route with the help of the audio guides included in the ticket. For security reasons, all visits are conducted in this way.

How to get to the Paris Catacombs

Arts et Metiers station| ©Clicsouris

The tourist entrance is next to the Montparnasse cemetery on Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy. It is located in the southern part of Paris, about an hour walk from the city center. From the Place de la Concorde it is about 55 minutes walk. However, it is also very accessible by other means of transport, which are among the best ways to explore Paris and its surroundings:

    The nearest station is Denfert-Rochereau, through which lines 4 and 6 pass.
  • By bus: lines 38 and 68 stop near the Montparnasse cemetery.
  • By car or cab: enter the following address in your navigation system or ask the cab driver to take you to Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, 75014.

Is it advisable to visit the Paris catacombs with children?

Sign on one of the Catatombs| ©Oh Paris

Technically, the entrance is allowed for children from 5 years old. But it is not the best place to visit with children. Apart from the dark and gloomy atmosphere of the catacombs and the skulls and human remains that can be seen during the visit, the access and conditions of the place are not ideal for children.

The catacombs are located 20 meters underground, and there are numerous steps to enter and exit them. There is little light underground and many corridors are very narrow, which can create a feeling of confinement, especially for children.

Although they can be visited with children, you should consider these conditions when deciding whether to visit them with children under your responsibility. Here are some alternative plans to get to know the French capital with kids.

What to see in the Paris catacombs

Catacombs castle hall| ©Florian Bon

Of the estimated 300 kilometers of tunnels in the Catacombs, only 1.5 kilometers have been made accessible for tours. On this tour, there is first an area with tunnels and a small exhibition explaining the history of the Catacombs. Further back is the main attraction of the catacombs, the ossuary.

The Ossuarium houses the remains of more than 6 million people, whose skulls and ossuaries are arranged in very peculiar places and shapes. There are more than 800 meters of ossuaries, including an area dedicated to the memory of the fallen of the French Revolution, the area of the gallery used for the tunnels and the skull barrel. The latter is a pile of bones arranged in the shape of a barrel and is one of the most characteristic elements of the catacombs.

How much time you need to visit the Paris catacombs

One of the chambers| ©Joanne

Thetour lasts about 1 hour. It is important not to exceed this time because the capacity is limited to 200 people and they closely control the capacity and the people entering and leaving the catacombs. However, in three quarters of an hour there is more than enough time to visit the entire complex in detail.

Opening hours of the Paris Catacombs

Details of the tombs| ©mowolf2000

The Paris Catacombs are open every day of the week except Mondays. From Tuesday to Sunday, the opening hours are from 10:00 to 20:30. The last admission is in the evening at 7:30 pm, so be there early to not miss any admission.

A brief history of the catacombs

The skulls of the catacombs| ©Passi1903

The origin of the catacombs dates back to the beginning of the 13th century. The catacombs date back to the mid-nineteenth century, when the first tunnels were dug to obtain stones and materials for the construction of buildings such as Notre Dame Cathedral. After many years of repeatedly collapsing, King Louis XI ordered the catacombs to be rebuilt. Their renovation on, solving one of the problems that Paris suffered at the time. The lack of space in their cemeteries.

From 1786 to 1859, the remains of many Parisian citizens were transferred to the catacombs. In 1814 they were made accessible, and many of the remains stored there were placed in special shapes and places for visitors to see.

In 1955, access to the tunnels was banned because they were often used for satanic rites and activities that were not entirely legal. From then until today only a small part of the catacombs can be visited.

Tips for visiting the Paris catacombs

Wall of pumpkins in the Catatombs| ©Tobias F. Wolf

Visiting the Paris Catacombs is very different from other tourist sites, so there are some points to keep in mind:

  • The first recommendation is to buy tickets in advance and online. If you don't, you will probably have to wait in line for more than an hour to get in, as capacity is limited and demand is usually high. In the high season the queues can be more than 2 hours long.
  • Even if you go in summer, you should have warm clothes, because at a depth of 20 meters the average temperature is only 15 degrees and it is very humid.
  • If you suffer from claustrophobia, have a respiratory condition or are several weeks pregnant, a visit to the catacombs is not recommended.
  • Do not take backpacks, bags or large objects, as access to the ossuary is not possible, as it is very narrow in some places and there are no lockers where you can leave them.
  • Flash photography is not possible inside the ossuary.
  • It is not accessible to strollers or wheelchairs.
  • There are two floors with more than 100 stairs going up and down each floor. Please remember to wear good shoes and take care of your physical condition.

Frequently asked questions

What are the catacombs of Paris?

Originally it was a network of stone mines whose galleries were excavated in the 17. Used to store corpses in the nineteenth century, when the mortality rate was very high.

Is it possible to visit all the catacombs of Paris?

Of the 300 km (180 miles) of tunnels under the city, only about 1.5 km (1 mile) are open to the public. This is due to the instability of the passages, many of which are now partially flooded or too narrow to explore.

What should I wear to visit the catacombs in Paris?

Since the entire tour is underground, you should bring a light jacket or sweater as it can get a bit chilly regardless of the time of year. The stairs have large steps, so it is advisable not to wear skirts, and because of the humidity in the tunnels, it is advisable to wear closed shoes.

Are the catacombs of Paris suitable for children?

Tours can last over an hour, and the catacombs are not suitable for strollers or wheelchairs. It is advisable not to bring small children as they are likely to be directly confronted with corpses and this can be a traumatic experience. Also, there are no restrooms throughout the duration of the tour.