Halloween isn’t really a thing in France, so Colin and I decided to celebrate on our own in the most spook-tacular way: by going ghost-hunting in the catacombs. The Paris catacombs, created in the late 1700s to address problems with overflowing cemeteries, are hidden deep underground and are full of artfully arranged human bones, mostly skulls and femurs, which begs the question—where are the rest of the skeletons hiding?? (My guess is as backfill, behind the walls of skulls and femurs.) The bones came from a number of hospitals and cemeteries and a large portion are thought to belong to victims of the Black Death. In any case, those ordinary, unfortunate Parisians are now part of a stunning display that is remarkable both for its artistry and its creepiness… i.e., perfect for Halloween.
While we enjoyed exploring, I am disappointed to report that I only saw one ghost the entire time! And his legs bore a striking resemblance to Colin’s, so I suspect it may have been a case of Halloween trickery.
(A few practical notes for anyone planning their own trip: I highly recommend the audio guide, and definitely purchase tickets online ahead of time. The line to get in without pre-purchased tickets is ridiculously long, in part because they don’t let many people in at once. That’s actually a very good thing, since it keeps the catacombs extra creepy—you might be the only living, breathing human in an entire corridor of bones.)