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Guide to Underground Paris

Guide to Underground Paris

In a city known for its architectural landmarks and joie de vivre, you might not think to go underground. But venturing below street level introduces you to intriguing Paris history as well as the Métro, the easiest way to get around the city.

Touring the Paris Catacombs

Beginning in the late 1700s, bones from Parisian cemeteries were transferred to a former limestone quarry that became the Paris Catacombs (Les Catacombes). Located 135 feet (20 meters) underground, the ossuary holds the remains of millions of Parisians, displayed in a maze of illuminated tunnels. The Catacombs aren't typically part of Paris city tours, so make a special trip to the 14th arrondissement if you’re interested in this macabre attraction.

Just 200 visitors are allowed inside the Catacombs at any time and the line can get long, so book a skip-the-line tour to make sure you don't waste time in the queue. Exploring the Catacombs takes about 45 minutes and involves walking down 130 steps and back up 83 steps—comfortable shoes are highly recommended.

Exploring the Paris Sewers

The Paris sewer system dates back to the 14th century, with its current incarnation designed in the mid-1800s, and offers the chance to see a different side of the city. In this subterranean world, you can explore tunnels that mirror the streets above and learn about Paris' water supply, engineering, and protection against flooding from the Seine.

For an in-depth look at the underground labyrinth, take a tour with a guide who shares historical facts and stories—something most tourists miss—or visit the Sewer Museum (Musée des Egouts de Paris), which is located on the Right Bank near Pont de l'Alma.

Using the Paris Métro

The Paris Métro, or Métropolitain, is one of Europe's busiest subway systems with 16 lines and more than 300 stations. It's come a long way since the first line opened in 1900 during the Paris World's Fair, and it's the easiest way to travel around this busy city, especially when you want to get to the other side of the Seine. Some stations still have original Art Nouveau Métropolitain signs—a great photo op.

Ticket packages such as the Paris Pass combine admission to city attractions with use of the Métro for a certain number of days, providing a convenient way to do some sightseeing around Paris at your own pace. You can also buy a Métro pass or individual tickets at each station. If you're using the transit network to go to the airport or travel outside the city to a location such as Versailles, the RER commuter line operates fluidly with the Métro.

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2 Tours and Activities | All Paris Tours

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Group or Private Paris Catacombs Special Access Tour

Group or Private Paris Catacombs Special Access Tour

star-5
269
Venture beneath the City of Light to explore the dark underworld of the Paris Catacombs. Skip the entrance lines and head inside this fantastically macabre tunnel system filled with the skeletal remains of more than 6 million Parisians. Hear about the remarkable construction of the catacombs from an expert guide as you walk past ornate chambers piled with decorative arrangements of bones, and gain special access to chapels and chambers closed to the general public. Group size is limited to 19.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$103.77
From
$103.77
Taking safety measures

Skip-the-Line: Paris Catacombs Tour with VIP Access to Restricted Areas

Skip-the-Line: Paris Catacombs Tour with VIP Access to Restricted Areas

star-4.5
769
Discover the darker side of the City of Lights with this skip-the-line tour of the famed catacombs of Paris. Explore these fascinating underground passageways lined with the bones of thousands of former Parisians and learn the history of the mesmerizing and macabre labyrinth. Bypass the long lines for this popular attraction and enjoy personalized attention in a small group limited to 19 people.
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  • 2 hours
From
$97.59
From
$97.59