Dungeons of Paris
At the end of the 10th century, the borders of Paris had to be significantly extended and the stone mined for the construction of houses by the open method was sorely lacking. This is how underground quarries appeared, in which limestone slabs were cut. The first mines opened under the Luxembourg Gardens, then mining moved further and further, and soon the undergrounds of Paris entwined many city blocks and streets with their network. The monks continued underground mining, adapted the catacombs for storing wine.
Today, the undergrounds of Paris are a huge network of tunnels and labyrinths, ranging in length, according to various sources, from 187 to 300 kilometers. But the most interesting thing is that almost six million of the dead are buried in these places..
Uncontrolled digging of mines in such a large underground area almost led to disaster. Several Parisian outskirts were threatened with collapse, and therefore King Louis XVI issued a decree on control over development. The General Inspectorate has existed for more than two centuries and is still doing a tremendous job to strengthen the Parisian soil. The only sad thing is that the modern fight against soil subsidence is to fill the voids with concrete. This is how historical sites like gypsum quarries disappear..
But while the undergrounds of Paris are still available for excursions, which begin in the pavilion at the Denfert-Rochereau metro station:
- The entrance to the quarries closes at 17:00.
- The last group goes on an excursion no later than 16 hours.
- No more than 200 people can be in the tourist area at the same time, which creates inevitable queues at the entrance.
Only two kilometers of underground labyrinths are equipped for tourists, but even this is quite enough to rise to the surface under the strong impression of what they saw..
What is an ossuary?
A person familiar with lytyn understands that we are talking about bones. This is the name of the places for storing skeletonized remains. In the undergrounds of Paris, ossuaries were equipped at the end of the 18th century. The reason was the gigantic accumulation of the remains of those who died after wars, epidemics and pogroms, formed at the cemetery of the Innocents. It was decided to move the breeding ground of stench and infection underground to the catacombs, and later the rest of the city cemeteries were cleared in a similar way..
During a tour of the dungeons of Paris, you can see an altar of skulls and bones, wall paintings and inscriptions of shocked visitors from the 18th century and the "Ariadne's thread" - a black line that helped not to disappear in labyrinths at a time when no one even heard of electricity.