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