catacombes de paris - urban exploration

Photos by Tristan Savatier

Catacombs of Paris ("Catacombes de Paris"), about 20 meters (60 feet) underground, under Paris city center.­

This is a part of the 200 Km (130 Miles) network of ancient tunnels not opened to the public, but regularly visited by trespassing urban cavers called "cataphiles".­

This is one of my favorite playgrounds, but it's also a dangerous and forbidden place where you can easily get lost.­

You can look at several interresting videos of the Catacombs here (videos are in french).­

Read this excellent article (in english) on National Geographic about this amazing off-limit underground world.­

Those interconnected caves and tunnels are the remnent of antique limestone quarries were the stone was extracted to build the houses of Paris.­ Part of them are now used to store human bones moved from various old cemeteries around 1790, hence the (incorrect) name "Catacombs".­

Only a small section of the Catacombs, called the Ossuary, is opened to the public near Place Denfer-Rochereau in the 14th arrondissement of Paris.­ Visitors can see the the bones of about 6 millions people filling up large underground chambers.­ See Les "Catacombes de Paris" (official website) for more infos.­

Information about the off-limit Catacombs of Paris can be found on the following websites: