Graveyards—there’s something inherently hair-raising about them, and to many, they’re some of the creepiest and most taboo places on the planet. What’s scarier than your typical, run-of-the-mill cemetery, though? How about one that houses the remains of millions of Parisians and is located directly underneath France’s capital? Yeah, probably that.
For a city that’s known for its love of fashion, romance, and culture, Paris sure is hiding a dark secret under its streets. These little-known facts about the vast Catacombs of Paris will leave you absolutely bewildered.
10. They House The Remains Of Over Six Million Dead Parisians
In the 18th century, the cemeteries of the ever-growing city of Paris were running out of space. If that wasn’t bad enough, some bodies weren’t buried properly and were spreading disease. Ultimately, Parisian officials chose to condemn the city’s cemeteries and move the remains they contained elsewhere.
The officials turned to some of the city’s underground quarries. They were able to organize the movement of more than six million bodies underground from the 1780s to 1814, all taken from previously existing graveyards throughout Paris, by transporting the dead via carts and depositing them in their final resting place.
9. They’re Bigger Than You Think
While the remains of six million people are scattered throughout the tunnels, most were laid within burial chambers known as ossuaries, in which tours are often held. The thing is, more tunnels surround the Catacombs. These tunnels were made by Parisian quarry miners before some were used as cemeteries.
While it’s estimated that there are around 320 kilometers (200 mi) of tunnels, not all of them have been mapped, and the rest is uncharted territory. It really makes you wonder what else is lurking down in those tunnels.