The 5 Best Paris Catacombs Tours – [2020 Reviews]

Over many centuries, there wasn’t room for more of those who passed away to fit into the already crowded Paris cemeteries. There wasn’t room for more cemeteries and they needed room for housing and services for the growing population.

Starting in 1783, Paris began moving those who had been buried in the city’s cemeteries to the tunnels underground.

It is estimated that there are between 6 and 7 million remains in the 200+ miles of tunnels beneath Paris.

Best Paris Catacomb Tours

 Catacombs of Paris: Restricted Access TourSkip the Line: 2-Hour Paris Catacombs Small Group TourCatacombs of Paris Private Tour for Families
editors choice
Catacombs of Paris: Restricted Access Tour  Skip the Line: 2-Hour Paris Catacombs Small Group Tour
Departure Point:Main Entrance of the CatacombsMain Entrance of the CatacombsDefurt Rochereau
Departure Time:4:15 PM & 5:15 PM10:30 AM, 12:30 PM & 2 PM10 AM, 12:30 PM & 2 PM
Duration:2 Hours2 Hours90 Minutes
Includes: Admission ticket with fast track entry, expert guide, access to several restricted areasSkip-the-line entrance ticket, expert guideSkip-the-line entry to the catacombs, expert local guide

Quick Answer: The 5 Best Rated Paris Catacombs Tours

  1. Catacombs of Paris: Restricted Access Tour
  2. Skip the Line: 2-Hour Paris Catacombs Small Group Tour
  3. Catacombs of Paris Private Tour for Families
  4. Catacombs of Paris: 2-Hour Tour with Priority Entrance
  5. Paris Catacombs Special Access Entry Ticket

We’ve chosen these top rated Paris Catacomb tours because they offer a wide range of experiences and will fit into everyone’s budget.

Paris Catacombs Tour Reviews

#1 Catacombs of Paris: Restricted Access Tour

Catacombs of Paris: Restricted Access Tour

Tour Highlights At A Glance:

  • Departure Point: Main Entrance of the Paris Catacombs
  • Departure Time: 4:15 PM & 5:15 PM
  • Duration: 2 hours (approx.)
  • Includes: Admission ticket with fast track entry, expert guide, access to several restricted areas within the catacombs, a small group of up to 6 people

Viewing the catacombs beneath Paris is an experience in and of itself. The winding tunnels lined with remains both ancient and more recent give a macabre feeling, especially when compared to the beautiful city built above them.

With your expert guide, you will also learn the history behind the catacombs and how they were created.

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There are stories and legends of those who have been laid to rest here, and also of secret societies that still visit the Paris catacombs today.

This restricted access tour will also allow you to see several areas of the catacombs that most who visit them aren’t allowed access to.

Your expert guide will take you to these places and explain why they are so important and have been closed off to general visitors.

Listen to your expert guide tell you of the gloomy underground of Paris, some more than 20 meters, or more than 650 feet, below the modern streets of Paris.

Watch as your guide unlocks gates to areas of the mine tunnels and catacombs with even more macabre legends.

 

For tour prices, transportation and availability:


#2 Skip the Line: 2-Hour Paris Catacombs Small Group Tour

 Skip the Line: 2-Hour Paris Catacombs Small Group Tour

Tour Highlights At A Glance:

  • Departure Point: Main Entrance of the Paris Catacombs
  • Departure Time: 10:30 AM, 12:30 PM & 2 PM
  • Duration: 2 hours (approx.)
  • Includes: Skip-the-line entrance ticket, expert guide, a small group of up to 19 guests

Want to see the doorway over which is inscribed “Beware the Realm of Death”? Your expert guide will take you on a 2-hour tour of the catacombs beneath Paris. These catacombs are now home to over 6 million once-living humans.

Something that makes these catacombs completely unique is that the skulls and bones, and sometimes full skeletons, are neatly stacked along the walls of these tunnels.

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The tunnels were used to quarry limestone that was used to build many of Paris’ most iconic buildings and even bridges.

You and just 18 other people will follow your guide through a maze of tunnels, pointing out specific locations within them that are notable.

Perhaps a secret society met there? Maybe they still do? Plus, the remains of those who were once well-known, whether famous or notorious.

Underneath the beauty and romance of the City of Lights, these tunnels remind visitors of long-ago times when death was rampant in Europe.

 

For tour prices, transportation and availability:



#3 Catacombs of Paris Private Tour for Families

Catacombs of Paris Private Tour for Families

Tour Highlights At A Glance:

  • Departure Point: Defurt Rochereau
  • Departure Time: 10 AM, 12:30 PM & 2 PM
  • Duration: 90 minutes (approx.)
  • Includes: Skip-the-line entry to the catacombs, expert local guide

When bringing the family to Paris, you expect them to learn some of the history of the city not to mention their unique culture. After all, Paris is Paris and nowhere else is! However, there is one way you can make the history lessons a bit more fun.

The catacombs in Paris were originally limestone mines. After that, they were used to house the bones of over 6 million people that had been laid to rest in traditional cemeteries. But why?

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Paris, as with the rest of Europe, was battling against epidemics of many illnesses.

After the catacombs were created, it became much easier for the city to keep streets and houses clean, leading to a huge reduction in sickness and disease. But did they create a macabre reminder of those days with these skull and bone lined tunnels?

Your expert guide will be dedicated to you and your family only. Ask questions and explore. Learn the fascinating history as a family. And ask your expert tour guide to snap some great pictures, too!

For tour prices, transportation and availability:


#4 Catacombs of Paris: 2-Hour Tour with Priority Entrance

Catacombs of Paris: 2-Hour Tour with Priority Entrance

Tour Highlights At A Glance:

  • Departure Point: Defurt Rochereau
  • Departure Time: 10 AM, 12:30 PM & 2 PM
  • Duration: 90 minutes (approx.)
  • Includes: skip-the-line entry to the catacombs, expert local guide

For centuries, thousands have died in Paris. Many of Paris’ citizens have met their fate during the epidemic of the black plague, the French Revolution, the era of the guillotine, and more.

When cemeteries are full and there’s no room for more cemeteries, what is Paris to do? Their answer was to remove the skulls and bones of many in cemeteries, taking them to the deep, dark limestone quarry tunnels beneath the city.

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Who are these people that now call the Paris catacombs their resting place?

Listen to your expert guide tell you of ghost stories, the legends of those lost in the tunnels, and even of secret societies that keep coming back here.

Why? No one knows. But you might get a glimpse into Paris’ underbelly as you view walls and walks of full skeletons as well as skulls and bones used to decorate the tunnels.

Will you feel the chill of a spirit never at rest? Taken from their resting place and used to decorate walls, arches, and even an underground, macabre chapel?

You just might with this skip-the-line access to the catacombs of Paris. Be sure to bring a friend!

 

For tour prices, transportation and availability:


#5 Paris Catacombs Special Access Entry Ticket

 Paris Catacombs Special Access Entry Ticket

Tour Highlights At A Glance:

  • Departure Point: Café du Rendez-vous
  • Departure Time: 10:30 AM, 11:30 AM & 12:30 PM
  • Duration: 2 hours (approx.)
  • Includes: expert local guide, skip-the-line access, private tour with a maximum of 19 guests

Paris’ underbelly is home to a unique series of tunnels. These tunnels span hundreds of miles. Follow your local guide, an expert in the catacombs of Paris, as you learn about their history before they were made into catacombs.

You’ll also learn about why and how the catacombs were created. The stories and legends of these underground resting places for over 6 million people will give you the chills as you head from tunnel to tunnel.

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This private tour will also give you access to areas of the catacomb tunnels that most people can’t see. Gather around the gate as a guard opens it and ushers you inside.

An underground chapel, decorated with skulls and bones, awaits you. And this is only one of the restricted access areas you will be able to see.

There’s no place quite like the Paris catacombs anywhere in the world. This tour allows you to experience it like most people don’t.

 

For tour prices, transportation and availability:


Planning Guide For Your Paris Catacombs Visit

best catacomb tours in paris

While visiting the City of Lights may not be just as you expect after watching An American in Paris, a vacation in Paris is like nothing else. With so many tourist spots to explore, you may find it difficult to plan everything you’d like to see and experience into just one vacation. I guess that just means you’ll have to come back to see this beautiful city again.

Our travel guide below can help you plan a vacation to Paris whether you are staying for 2 days or 10 and whether it’s your first visit or fifth.

Airports & Entry

When headed to France, you won’t need to apply for a visa so long as your expected stay is less than 90 days. You also need to have at least three months before your passport expires past the date you expect to leave the country.

An emergency passport will not be accepted unless you also have an approved visa, no matter the length of your stay. There should be at least one page available for a stamp when you arrive.

There are three major airports in the area of Paris, France. The one you fly into will most likely be determined by the airline you are using. That airline will fly into the airport it is contracted with. With that in mind, when flying to France you will most likely land at one of the following airports:

Planning Tips

Paris is unlike most other vacation destinations. The French, especially Parisians, live life a little differently. This means that while you’re there, you may have to get used to eating at different times and you may need to plan your attire.

These are our top 5 tips for visiting Paris. Have you been there and have tips of your own? Let us know!

Tip #1: Wear Comfortable Shoes

You will be going down many stairs to get into the catacombs, and the catacombs extend for miles. Even though you won’t be seeing all 200+ miles of them, it is still a pretty long walk. You will also have to ascend stairs to get out.

Most guided tours take 2 hours or so. This means you will be walking for a while. Be sure to pack some comfortable walking shoes for your visit to the Paris catacombs.

Tip #2: Bring a Jacket, and Maybe Gloves Too

It is usually very damp inside the catacomb tunnels. On top of that, the temperature is 15 degrees Celsius year-round. This equates to less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit. For most, this is a bit chilly at the very least. Most visitors are comfortable with a light jacket. However, having a thin pair of gloves won’t hurt either.

Tip #3: Invest in a Guided Tour

Because the number of guests in the tunnels at any one time is just 200, the lines to obtain a general admission ticket are usually very long. By purchasing a priority ticket through a guided tour, you can skip the lines at the entrance and go right in.

Another added bonus is that you will have a tour guide that can tell you much more about the Paris catacombs. Some tours even allow you to see areas of the tunnels that most don’t.

Tip #4: If Not, Arrive Early

If you haven’t planned ahead and purchased a tour with priority access to the catacombs, you will have to wait in line. This line can get quite long so be prepared for it. However, if you arrive 30 to 60 minutes before they open, you most likely won’t have to wait quite as long. Sometimes the wait can be hours, so be sure to get there early.

Tip #5: Are you claustrophobic?

There aren’t many restrictions when it comes to visiting the catacombs, except for a few banned items. Even kids can go inside for a look at the more sinister side of Paris. However, if you are claustrophobic and already know this, the catacombs may not be the ideal attraction for you. The good part is that there are always the famous cabarets of Paris, the Seine River cruises, or even guided tours of Versailles.

Tip #6: Stay in a Central Location

Everywhere you’re going to want to go as a tourist in Paris will be centrally located or have provided travel that leaves this area. Most of the hotels, many museums, and a lot of restaurants are all centrally located.

You’ll also find that the pickup and drop-off locations for many tours are located here. It makes things much easier if you find accommodations close to central Paris.

Tip #7: Always Have Euros on Hand

There are many stores and even restaurants that don’t accept debit or credit cards. Some taxis won’t accept plastic either. If an establishment does accept a card, they often won’t allow you to leave a tip on your receipt.

This means it’s important to always have a few euros on hand. Many ATMs in the city will allow you to use a foreign card to withdrawal euros.

Restaurants & Eating Out

The Ciel de Paris is one of the most romantic restaurants in the city. It is located in the Montparnasse Tower with beautiful views of the city. You’ll also find a well-stocked champagne bar available to you. The Polidor is one of the oldest restaurants in Paris.

It dates back to 1895 and the interior decor hasn’t changed much since. This is one of those restaurants that only take cash, so have a few euros on you.

In Paris, it’s hard to find a truly casual restaurant. Because of this, you’ll want to make sure that you’re dressed for the occasion. If you’re not sure what you could or should wear to a particular establishment, some will list their dress code online or you can always give them a call.

Nightlife & Entertainment

Harry’s New York Bar was actually once located in New York City. The entire bar, just as it was, was moved over to Paris in the early 1900s. This bar is credited with inventing some of the most popular cocktails we know today, including the Bloody Mary and the Sidecar.

Wine and champagne are something most Parisians are very proud of. If you’re looking for an upscale wine bar, you’ll want to try out Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels. You’ll be able to try nearly every wine and champagne local to Paris. However, there are wine bars located in nearly every corner of the city.

From backroom speakeasies to modern nightclubs, Paris has a little bit of everything for everybody when it comes to nighttime entertainment.

Getting Around

There’s no shortage of ways to get around in Paris. The most popular, effective, and affordable way is the Metro. You may find it a bit intimidating at first due to the sheer number of lines and routes, but after a few trips to an attraction or restaurant, you’ll be riding the Metro like a pro.

You can purchase single ride tickets or a batch of 10. If you’re going to be in Paris longer there are also ride passes.

While traditional taxis can be quite expensive in the city, Uber offers some fairly inexpensive ways to get around town if traveling by car is best.

Walking between destinations is very doable in Paris but if you’d like to ride a bike instead, there’s plenty of kiosks that rent them. In fact, this can be a great way to tour the city and do some sightseeing on your own.

Accommodations

You’ll find everything from small and inexpensive hostels too large, luxury resorts in Paris. There are even small boutique hotels with spas and other amenities. Where you decide to stay while visiting Paris will largely depend on the type of experience you’re looking for.

If you wish to spoil yourselves, the Le Roch Hotel & Spa is perfectly located between restaurants, the Louvre Museum, and many tourist pick up spots. If you’re looking to meet other tourists, learn more about the city from those who’ve been here several times, and have a quieter stay, one of the many hostels around town are ideal. We recommend The Generator Hostel Paris.

Weather

On average, July is the warmest month in Paris. While the weather is much better during the summer months, there are usually more crowds. If you don’t want to have to fight the crowds and don’t mind cooler weather, traveling in late winter or early spring might just give you the blend of comfortable weather and fewer crowds. January is the coldest month, on average, with temperatures in the low 40s Fahrenheit.

Attractions

Paris is full of attractions. The Louvre Museum is a popular stop for tourists. The Mona Lisa exhibit here can be quite busy, however. Use your limited time at this world-famous museum by taking in the many other exhibits, many of which are quite interesting and just as important to French history.

If you like to visit museums, you might want to try the Musee d’Histoire de la Medecine. You might just learn more about how modern medicine came to be. The Museum of Modern Art is a popular stop as well.

Visiting the Palace of Versailles, exploring the Paris catacombs, taking a river cruise down the Seine River, and making it to the top of the Eiffel Tower usually top most tourist’s lists of attractions. Remember that traveling to or visiting these places can be much easier if you go as a group on a tour.

You may get priority access, free souvenir photos, and more, just for traveling with a tour group. This is often the most affordable way and makes it easier to plan the days you’re planning to spend in Paris.

The catacombs beneath the Paris streets are unique, intriguing, and maybe even a little bit creepy. But that’s exactly why they are so popular. If planning on visiting the Paris catacombs during your stay, keep these tips in mind.

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The Catacombs of Paris: Restricted Access Tour is our Editor's Choice as the best Paris catacombs tour with its combination of expert tour guides and sites seen.

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Krysha Thayer

Krysha is a passionate freelance writer who appreciates everything outdoors. Living in rural New Mexico, she enjoys everything from hiking to snowshoeing and 4x4 trail riding to international travel. Being able to combine a love for writing with a love for being in the open, outside air is a dream career come true.

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