Visiting the dead beneath Paris

Whenever I hear that someone is going to Paris, I always feel compelled to offer some advice. Having been there just one time–for a week in the late 1990s–I’m far from an expert on the city. And there’s no point in telling someone to go to the Louvre or the Eiffel Tower or the Champs Elysees, because no one’s going to go there and somehow miss those things. My advice is more off the beaten path, and I will share it here as well: Whatever it takes, go and see the Catacombs.

Paris emptied out its graveyards centuries ago, and piled up its millions of skulls and femurs inside an old mining network. So if you want an experience that’s completely unique, and creepy enough to stay with you for a long time to come, then go to the 14th Arrondissement and take a stroll through a maze of the macabre.

For me, there’s no better way to appreciate being alive than observing the way that the plates in someone else’s head were once fused together. I’m sure that says something about me, but let’s not think too deeply about what that is, shall we?

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