Sisk Family European Vacation: Paris, Day 3 – The Catacombs
Our third and final day in Paris was a busy one…and we started it by visiting the Catacombs. It opens at 10:30 am and can only hold 200 people at any given time. We arrived at approximately 10:45 am to an incredible line.
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The Catacombs gather the remainders of approximately six million Parisians who were transferred to this final resting place between the end from 18th century and the middle from the 19th century.
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As I understand it, Paris’s population rapidly increased between the 10th and 12th centuries. Some of the cemeteries became overcrowded and because of their location in populated areas, were unable to expand. Soon only the most wealthy could afford church burials, which led to the common practice of burying the lesser-wealthy dead in mass graves. Few of the dead buried in this way had the privilege of coffins; often the casket used for a burial ceremony would be re-used for the next. These mass graves were then relocated to what is now known as the Catacombs.
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After going 130 steps down (83 steps back up), we went through a long and twisty hallway of sandstone, we came upon a sculpture that existed long before this part of the mines became an ossuary (second set of photos). Just beyond that, we found a well that was used by builders to transport water since they were so far underground. 
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Further on, it becomes apparent that we’re entering the burial area (no more sculptures or giggles) – there is an entry way with the inscription Arrête, c’est ici l’empire de la Mort (‘Stop, this is the empire of Death’). There’s also a sign saying “no flash photography.” From this point forward, the walls are lined with carefully arranged bones. Some of the arrangements look like art – makes you wonder what the designer was thinking about with this interesting selection of materials.
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Other than this incredible grave site, the Catacombs is just a small portion of over 300 miles of mines that stretch below the streets of Paris (and obviously the outskirts). I love Zoriah’s photojournalistic perspective on the “Real French Underground.” (click on the link…amazing photographs).
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After a long walk, we finally made it to the very end. We grabbed a bite to eat and then hit the metro to the Eiffel Tower. That’s right, I’m finally going to get to my Eiffel Tower pictures on Friday. Have a great Wednesday!
Naptime Momtog Live and Love...Out Loud and then, she {snapped} The Paper Mama 
Black and White Wednesday parenting BY dummies

PS: If you missed any of my vacation photos: click HERE
54 COMMENTS

    Love the last shot of the metro station. I am drawn to the simple images. That is not to say your Catacombes images are not superb!!

    These are wonderful. I hope to visit one day.

    Wow! What incredible history you got to capture. Can’t wait to see the Eiffel Tower!

    these are awesome pics! I went to Paris last October, and since it was off season the Catacombs were completely empty! It was nice not having a line, but its super creepy walking around through there all by yourself!

    oh – grizzly!

    I love that first one…love – and forgot to mention that I adore the new header!

    Thank you for sharing these amazing photos and interesting history.

    Gorgeous. Love the first shot!

    These are absolutely gorgeous photos. I don’t know what happened, but I used to follow your blog and just realized (a couple months later—boooo) that I don’t anymore. I’m resubscribing today and I just went back to early September to catch up.

    I recently moved to Italy and I’m so incredibly eager to start photographing again. Can’t wait to see more of your Paris photos..we’re going there next month!

    I didn’t realize that catacombs were so big! Great shots! If I took my husband down there I think he would have died, he hates being underground, oh and he hates heights too…. lucky me!

    I didn’t realize that catacombs were so big! Great shots! If I took my husband down there I think he would have died, he hates being underground, oh and he hates heights too…. lucky me!

    Wow. I kind of got the creepy’s while scrolling down the page. Did you, while you were there? Or were you just too excited to be gathering some awesome photos to share with your bloggy buds. I guess I would have been..BOTH

    Oh this is sooooo great! The Catacombs is something I haven’t gotten to see, despite two trips to Paris. I’ve always wondered what they were like, and the idea kind of creeped me out. But after seeing your photos, I am going to have to seriously reconsider my stance :)

    Kathy

    These are neat shots and what a cool experience.

    Looking forward to Friday’s photos!
    xoxox

    This is why I love blogging so much, I get to visit places without leaving my home.

    you got some really great shots down there. looking forward to seeing your eiffel tower!

    These are fantastic photos. I think it would be a little somber down there, no? What a neat experience, though. Thanks for sharing with us!

    I’m learning so much from your vacation photos! So much history in that part of the world.

    These photos are gorgeous and creepy at the same time. I have honestly never really had a desire to visit Paris, but you are making it sound and look so neat.

    WOW! So gorgeous. Really great photos. Can’t wait for Friday for many reasons. :D

    Lovely and creepy. Not sure how I feel about finding beauty in all that death, but none the less…your photos are beautiful. I think I’m going to have to add Paris to my bucket list. Can’t wait to see that TOWER!

    The skulls and bones are perfect in B&W, can’t wait to see the Eiffel Tower!

    Thanks for linking up!

    Beautiful pictures, as always. You captured some great history! I am excited to see the Eiffel Tower, too!

    How did I miss this spot – incredible.

    These remind me of when I visited the catacombs outside of Rome. Very creepy, yet intriguing.

    I have been loving your vacation shots so much Ashley! What a wonderful trip.

    Beautiful captures. I always thought the catacombs of Paris sounded so interesting! I hate caves and dark underground places, but would still go if I had the chance.

    Ashley,

    Thanks for taking us along on your amazing vacation.

    These were just incredible and so interesting.

    Going to check out that link now.

    Thanks so much.

    Hope you’re having a blessed day♥

    Such beautiful photos! I love the line bokeh ;-) though I think it was no fun waiting… Can’t wait to see the Eifel tower photos!

    Cool virtual tour! As usual, the B&W are great.
    Rosemary

    Kind of creepy, just in time for Halloween. Great photos though, I love the 1st one. I’m excited to see your Eiffel Tower pictures.

    I have heard so much about this place – sort of freaky. But you captured them so well Ashley!

    I love the blur and bokeh of the first and that scenery is just gorgeous!

    super cool! i remember learning about those in french class! love the first shot! and cant wait to see the tour d’Eiffel!

    Fantastic shots and fascinating history. I didn’t have a chance to visit the catacombs but hope to one day. I do remember loving the Metro signs ;)

    Great shots! What an experience it must be in there Catacombs. You captured the mood and the feel so well in your images. Love the last image; a wonderful slice of the city.

    Such fascinating photos! Love the metro pictures as well.

    Your pictures are so amazing! I love hearing all the history behind your photos as well; I feel like I got a mini-tour via Ashley Sisk :) I don’t know if this is a recurring problem, or maybe it’s just me, but I haven’t seen your posts showing up on Facebook lately. Here I was thinking that you weren’t posting and decided to come and check it out… and low and behold, I’ve missed like 2 weeks of posts! Going to catch up now…

    Such hauntingly beautiful images…gorgeous work, Ashley!

    Such. Beautiful. Work. Love all of them.

    very mysterious. these photos are pure magic.

    Okay…haven’t been there. And, darn it. I’m busy tomorrow. :)

    Such amazing photos, my friend!

    The kids read a story about the catacombs that makes this series a bit eerie for me. I love the processing you are using. That’s not the debonair action, is it? Such a soft hazy look to these – – it’s like looking at a history or art book.

    Okay, I’m like the creepy girl in high school that no one really hangs out with–I thought your photos of the bones were INCREDIBLE! Maybe it’s because I used to take x-rays. Bones fascinate me, and you did a beautiful job capturing such rich history!!

    Very neat, although I must admit, a little creepy!!! :0)

    Wow…….so interesting! I have never heard about the catacombs before. Awesome pictures and great descriptions.
    This was a really cool post…..I love learning new things like this!
    THANKS!

    Wow – how amazing and how creep at the same time. Love the colors in you photos.

    I am learning so much about European history :o). Your photos really capture the mood and are beautiful at the same time. Thank you for sharing and thank you for linking up!

    OMG your pictures are gorgeous! The catacombs has eery feel to it.

    Ashley, thank you for going down in to the catacombs and reporting back, because I think I might flip out underground. I’m claustrophobic, you see. These images are creepy and awesome and I love them.

    ab.so.lut.ely GORGEOUS Ashley! so enjoyed scrolling through these photos. enjoy your weekend. Rebecca

    Really cool shots.

    And totally creepy.

    in a very ghost-like-shivery of a way, these are cool photos. Love how you captured the stairwell — maybe because it was sans death… (lol) – or maybe because it’s such a different view (who thinks about photographing the stairs???) that it really draws me in… although please don’t make me go down there!!! (shivers)

    :)

    I’ve been looking forward to this post for weeks. Incredible photos and I’m sure it felt a bit weird being amongst all those skullls.


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