Destination = The Catacombs, Paris, France
From Avenue Rene Coty it's 130 steps down to these narrow corridors and ossuary.
It’s dark and damp, oddly still, but feels colder than 14degC. I’m 5-storeys below streets and roads, in a dimly-lit tunnel, alone and surrounded by the stacked bones of 7-million souls. Leg bones lay in rows, skulls staring blankly as I pass in the gloom; arms and ribs scattered on a dust covered floor.
I’m beneath the `City of Lights', 2km to the closest exit, these tunnels part of a 300km subterranean quarry maze, now a bone yard - the result of the 18th century graveyards being full, the stench of rotten corpses oozing through basement walls. After centuries of growth, the city is overwhelmed and overcrowded with bodies buried one on top of the other, church grounds and public cemeteries unsanitary, unsafe and swarming with rats. Ancient cemeteries are emptied, the bodies and bones moved to here.