Paris Catacombs

Three days spent under Paris with some excellent company. Big thanks to Jobs for organizing, Maniac for driving and to everyone in the group for making it an awesome trip. Bombay mix of characters and temperaments worked out well.

Treat this report as a general overview and my personal highlight of the Catacombs, place is huge it would take another ten visits to properly document it. This are few snaps i managed to take with my compact camera (dropped the idea of taking DSLR down there).

Visited with: AndyJ, Bigjobs, Eliot5200, Franconian, Frosty, Gaj, Hils, Keïteï, Maniac and SirJonnyP.

History: Catacombs of Paris are built within a forty meter layer of Lutécien limestone, it built up over millions of years and was originally covered by ocean. As a proof, fossils of small sea creatures can be seen in the rocks in several areas of the Catacombs.

The area began to be quarried by the Romans in open air quarries. It wasn't until 12th century until the technique of digging tunnels to extract the rock was used.

In 1777, Quarries Inspection was formed due to high amount of collapses within the tunnels. Inspectors would mark the galleries they have checked by inscribing the date, initials and sometimes abbreviation of the work carried out.

Term Catacombs is used as a general expression of the Great Southern Network (GRS) but in fact the actual catacombs are only a small area of this network called The General Ossuary. In 19th century with major overcrowding in the cemeteries, polluting the soil and causing health problems among Parisians, it has been decided to move six million corpses from graveyards over a 75 year period into the underground tunnels.

Today the Catacombs are mix of old quarry workings, smooth brick tunnels built from waste rock, aqueducts, old telecom tunnels, German and French bunkers from the war. Local French explorers continue the history of the Catacombs by building rooms out of the rock in various areas of the network creating a living underworld, a life below ground where people meet, explore, relax and party.

On with the pictures.

On the left: one of the Ossuaries; right: road signs Catacombs are scattered with.

Franconian and myself in one of the tunnels.

Carbide lamp used by regular and more experienced Catacomb explorers.

Waiting for the crawl.

One of many manholes used by Parisians to enter the Catacombs.

Monks fountain to the left; flooded corridor and us travelling to the right.

Crawling to reach one of the rooms.



The room we were crawling to reach.

Andy reading the map in the Generator room.

Break in one of the Ossuaries.

Sitting inside the Ossuary filled with at least 1 metre of bones, quite disturbing experience.