When tourists think of Paris, they often picture a city full of beauty and romance, in part thanks to its many outstanding cultural attractions. After all, what’s more beautiful than cruising down the Seine or enjoying the view from the Eiffel Tower? But there’s beauty to be found in other sides of the city as well, such as the haunting, macabre beauty of the Paris Catacombs deep beneath the city.
Visiting the Paris Catacombs will give you the strange opportunity to see the remains of millions of people laid to rest within secretive tunnels. Whether you find this attraction grim, creepy, touching, or all of the above, it’s certainly a memorable place to visit. In this guide, we’ll show you how to buy tickets for the Paris Catacombs to ensure you get the most out of this unorthodox attraction.
Quick Answer – How to Buy Tickets to the Catacombs of Paris: Unless you like spending your vacation waiting in long lines, we highly recommended you purchase your admission ticket to the Catacombs of Paris in advance here. Or, if you’d like to uncover the secrets of the world’s largest underground burial site with a guide, book a tour here instead.
Best Ways to Get Tickets to the Paris Catacombs
Like so many major tourist attractions, there are a few different ways you can go about getting your Paris Catacombs tickets. These options are based on how organized or spontaneous you are, as well as how you’d like to actually visit the catacombs. Below we’ve set out where to buy tickets for the Paris Catacombs for each of the options so that you can decide for yourself which best suits you.
1. Line Up in Person (Not Recommended)
While it is possible to buy tickets to the Paris Catacombs at the ticket desk on the day, it’s not the approach we recommend. Tickets are limited and if you wait to get yours, you run the risk of missing out.
Not only that, you’ll also have to spend time waiting in the line for the ticket desk, which can get fairly long during peak tourist season. Both of these reasons make it a bad idea to wait until you arrive to get your tickets, especially as there’s a better last-minute option as you’ll soon see.
2. Book Online (Recommended)
Instead, we highly recommend booking tickets to the Paris Catacombs online before you turn up. It’s possible to buy tickets months in advance, as well as ones for a same-day visit, although same-day tickets are quite limited.
Either way, though, you get skip-the-line tickets for the Paris Catacombs that allow you to enter at your set entry time rather than waiting in line to buy tickets and then waiting again for your turn to enter. Knowing exactly when your visit starts also allows you to better plan the rest of your sightseeing that day.
Tickets can be purchased through the official website for the catacombs, but unfortunately those tickets are nonrefundable. Instead, we recommend booking through this link for advance tickets, as these tickets cost almost the same price and allow you to cancel up to 24 hours in advance and receive a full refund.
3. Book a Guided Tour
A guided tour of the Paris Catacombs is a great idea for visitors hoping to learn and experience as much as possible while they are there. After all, there is a lot going on in the catacombs, and it doesn’t hurt having someone there who can answer all your burning questions.
While there is a guided tour provided once per week by management, it is done in French and places are very limited. That is why we recommend taking these guided tours instead, as they are in English and occur much more frequently. Tickets for these tours also include full refunds for cancellations made up to 24 hours in advance.
Useful Information for Visiting the Paris Catacombs
What’s the Best Time to Visit the Paris Catacombs?
If you’re looking to visit the Paris Catacombs when they aren’t too busy, there are some times to go that are better than others. Still, it is a popular tourist attraction in Paris, one of the most visited cities in the world, so you can expect there to always be other tourists around no matter the season.
Two factors you conveniently don’t have to worry about, though, are the weather and if it’s light outside, since you’ll be underground anyway.
Generally speaking, the best times of the day to schedule your visit are first thing in the morning or later in the evening. You’ll find that tourist numbers are at their highest in the early afternoon most days. As for which days are best, Tuesday and Wednesday are the quietest, while the attraction is busiest on the weekend.
Paris Catacombs Hours of Operation
The Paris Catacombs are open every day of the week except for Mondays. The site is closed for certain public holidays, including January 1, May 1, and December 25. Opening hours for the catacombs are from 9:45 to 20:30, with the last tickets sold an hour before closing. During summer, hours may be extended into the evening.
How to Get to the Paris Catacombs
Although the Paris Catacombs aren’t quite as central as other major attractions in the city, they’re still easy to reach if you know what you’re doing. They are a comfortable walking distance from the Luxembourg Gardens and the Montparnasse Tower, but it’s more likely you’ll want to reach them via public transport.
Traveling by metro or train will likely be the easiest approach, as Denfert-Rochereau station is located right by their entrance. You can take the 4 and 6 lines to reach the station by metro, or the RER B line when going by train. There are various buses that will take you to the catacombs, but likely the most useful are the 38 from Cité–Palais de Justice and the 68 from Pyramides.
How Do Paris Catacombs Tickets Work?
Understanding how Paris Catacombs tickets work is an important part of making the most of your visit. Tickets to the Paris Catacombs may seem straightforward enough, but there are a few little quirks that you’ll want to know when planning your purchase.
One of the key things to understand is that there are two options for tickets on the official website. The main one is for advance tickets, which you can book several months in advance. However, there is also the option to book last-minute visits the day you wish to visit from the small number of tickets to the Paris Catacombs made available.
When booking your tickets, you’ll need to select a scheduled time slot for your visit from the times available. Tickets are limited to 200 visitors on-site, and time slots are every 15 minutes. Once your tickets are booked, you’ll have the option of either printing them out or saving them on your smartphone to present when you arrive on the day.
How Much Do Tickets for the Paris Catacombs Cost?
The cost of tickets to the Paris Catacombs depends on which type of ticket you end up purchasing. Advance tickets are more expensive than last-minute tickets as they allow you to guarantee entry ahead of time and include an audio guide.
Paris Catacombs tickets booked in advance cost €29 for adults, €27 for reduced-rate visitors, and €5 for children. Last-minute tickets cost €15 for adults, €13 for reduced-rate visitors, and children visit free but still require a booked ticket. Audio guides, when bought separately, cost €5.
Discounted tickets are available for students and adults aged between 18 and 26 when presenting valid ID. Children’s tickets are for youths aged under 18 years of age.
Best Hotels for the Paris Catacombs
Travelers hoping to stay somewhere a little different for their time in Paris should certainly look in the area surrounding the Paris Catacombs. The 14th arrondissement and surrounding neighborhoods offer an interesting mix of shopping, food, and cafés, making them ideal for filling time between visiting the city’s sights. Since there are so many options to choose from, allow us to get you started with a few suggestions.
For a high-end hotel that’s sure to offer comfortable and stylish surroundings, look no further than Hotel Le Six. This boutique four-star hotel offers spacious and chic rooms and suites, not to mention modern amenities like a fitness center and a hammam. For other hotel recommendations, be sure to consult our guide to the best hotels in Paris.
Hotel Max is an excellent choice if you’re seeking somewhere in the area that is both affordable and inviting. With this boutique three-star hotel, you get freshly designed rooms equipped with amenities like air-conditioning and coffee machines, all just a 10-minute walk from the catacombs’ entrance. You’ll find additional midrange options in our Paris Airbnb guide.
There aren’t too many budget options in this part of the city, which makes FIAP Jean Monnet such a great choice. You have a choice of dorms and private rooms at this hostel and access to a restaurant, bar, garden, and shared lounge. See our Paris hostel guide for further hostel recommendations.
Security Process at the Paris Catacombs
Because the catacombs are such a delicate and sacred place, visitors will need to go through security at the start of their visit and will be expected to follow a few rules.
Perhaps the most important rule is that visitors are not to touch any of the remains as they are incredibly fragile and were once citizens of Paris. Another rule designed to preserve the ossuary is that only very small bags are permitted inside the catacombs and must be worn at the front of your body. Suitcases, large bags, and strollers are prohibited, and as there is no cloakroom or storage, you will want to stow them before you arrive.
Photographs for personal use are allowed, as is taking photos with a flash. However, tripods and other professional equipment are not permitted. Food, drinks, and alcohol are also forbidden.
Visiting the Paris Catacombs With a Disability
It should come as no surprise that, due to their nature, the Paris Catacombs are not an easy place to visit with a disability. However, visitors with a disability are eligible for free entry for themselves and one carer.
While touring the Paris Catacombs, visitors must follow old underground tunnels and tackle a total of 243 steps. This means that the catacombs are not wheelchair accessible and visits are not recommended for people with mobility issues or motor disabilities, while visitors with mental disabilities may find the environment anxiety-inducing.
Visitors with visual impairments must be accompanied during their visit, and white canes are not permitted to be used. However, guide dogs are allowed.
FAQ – Facts About the Paris Catacombs
What Are the Paris Catacombs?
The Paris Catacombs are an underground ossuary, a space where human remains are kept, set within a section of an old tunnel network beneath the city.
When Were the Paris Catacombs Built?
The first transfers of human remains into the Paris Catacombs took place in 1785.
How Old Are the Paris Catacombs?
The catacombs were consecrated as the Paris Municipal Ossuary on April 7, 1786, making them over 200 years old.
Who Built the Paris Catacombs?
It was Paris city officials who decided to create the catacombs in the former quarries of the Tombe-Issoire under the city.
Why Were the Paris Catacombs Built?
The Paris Catacombs were created in response to a public health crisis in the city caused by local cemeteries exceeding their capacity.
How Many People’s Remains Can Be Found in the Paris Catacombs?
The remains of over six million people are located within the Paris Catacombs.
Where Are the Paris Catacombs Located?
The Paris Catacombs are located in Petit-Montrouge, a neighborhood in the 14th arrondissement on the south side of the city center.
With all this information, you should have everything you need to plan an enjoyable experience in the catacombs. The most important thing to remember is that skip-the-line Paris Catacombs tickets are a great way to make the most of your time there.