Ou est elle la mort toujours future ou passée Apeine est elle presente que deja elle n’est plus – one of the many thought provoking and haunting quotes found deep in Les Catacombes.
One of the most romantic things about Paris is that it will make of anything art – even death. The underground Catacombs (possibly the most creative urban space repurposing in history – former quarry caves turned into a massive human remains dump/art installation project) are unlike anything you’ve ever seen and boast millions of lost stories and souls (over six million to be kinda exact – in skeleton form and stacked and designed like hell’s Legos!) while the cemeteries still above ground revel in their gorgeous, macabre monumental splendor.
What else is there to say? Let the ghosts behind the photos whisper their secrets and history to you.
The Spin’s Parisian Fun Tips:
- The lines for the Catacombs will snake around the block – plan to spend as much time in line as you do underground. Thankfully, the tunnels are so large and expansive, you’ll hardly know there are so many living souls down there with you and the dead.
- A little old Frenchman will come up to you and help you get the lay of the land if you stand at one the Montparnasse Cemetery maps long enough. The maps helpfully point out where famous folks are laid to rest (we found the graves of literary titans Samuel Beckett and Eugene Ionesco).
Written and Photographed by David H. Schleicher
The Spin’s Five Part “France, Je T’aime” Series: