Creepy Travel in the Catacombs of Paris

April 18th, 2011 by The JetSetter Team | Comments Off on Creepy Travel in the Catacombs of Paris

To the unaware, the Catacombs of Paris seem ripped from an Edgar Allen Poe nightmare. Not a cemetery exactly, this underground complex of tunnels and rooms is called an ossuary (site that serves as a final resting place for human remains) and holds the skeletons of about 6 million souls. How does something like this even happen on such a grand scale?

Famous for their lack of foresight, for centuries the French buried their dead on the outskirts of town. Of course that particular town, Paris, kept growing and growing until it overran all the cemeteries. Adding to the problem was the practice of burying the less-wealthy dead without coffins. The decaying organic matter began contaminating the city’s water supply. In the meantime, officials began the process of inhumation, which involved waiting a certain length of time after burial for the flesh to decay, then going in, digging out the skeletal remains, and stashing them somewhere else so the cemetery could be plowed over and reused.

Meanwhile someone had the bright idea to stack all these bones in a series of underground mines west of the city. Somewhere along the way, a

little scamp with an artistic bent started stacking the femurs and skulls into geometrical arrangements. Not unexpectedly, graffiti made an appearance shortly thereafter, the combination of bones and creativity giving rise to one of the most memorable places you’ll ever visit. Who said the French can’t get anything right? With the Catacombs of Paris, they’ve managed to turn death into a tourist attraction and one of the great pleasure travel destinations in the world.

And there are other things to see in this city. We keep hearing something about a tower or something.

The Jetsetter Show Team

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Flickr / jessica mullen

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