on January 5, 2011
The Paris Catacombs are a unique and pretty macarbe tourist attraction and one that was high on my list of things to see. The Catacombs are an underground ossuary where the bones of thousands of Parisians from the 18th century are stored after the cemeteries of Paris were overflowing and needed stored somewhere. It isn't exactly a tourist site that will appeal to everyone but I found it to be absolutely fascinating. You will need to plan ahead if you want to visit the catacombs as they are only open for 2 hours a day. The entrance is also quite difficult to find even though it is located near a metro stop it isn't really signposted very well. Once in and paid you head down a staircase into the catacombs. Be warned that if you suffer from claustrophobia then this is definately not the sight for you as it is extremely dark and being undeground even caused me some discomfort and I don't suffer from claustrophobia. Once in the tunnels it is a pretty eerie experience to begin with as you see the bones lined up from floor to ceiling. Some of the bones have been arranged in patterns and it really is a sight to behold and again will not appeal to everyone. After awhile the eeriness dissapears and it really made me think about lifes of the people who were here. I thought it was lovely that these people who had died hundreds of years ago were still a part of the city they lived in instead of rotting away in some neglected cemetery. The Catacombs under Paris go on for miles and miles but the stretch that is open to the public only goes for a mile or so and you can see the opeings of the some other tunnels during the walk. These are thankfully sealed so that you can't go wandering and get lost which was a relief to me as I wouldn't want to be stuck down there for any length of time. Coming out of the tunnels into daylight is a pretty weird experience and when you enter onto the busy street it does take some time to get your bearings again. The catacombs are an absolutely amazing experience and not one that you can experience everywhere. Yes it can be a little macarbe and not everyone will enjoy going down into the tunnels but for me I really enjoyed it and it is something I will always remember for the est of my life.
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