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lostboys
4 years ago
Old bones
Old bones

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.

 

 

  1. aboreson4 

    Okay, this totally freaks me out. I'm claustrophobic to begin with, but then you add descriptions like dark, damp, dimly-lit tunnel with stacked bones, and suddenly I'm rocking in a corner picking out my eyebrows. Not to mention "swarming with rats" to raise my level of hysteria. Wish it was different as that has got to be an incredible experience. Thanks for making it possible for me to envision...from sea level!

    6/25/15

    1. lostboys 

      Haha. You'd be no good down there. That's for sure!

      6/25/15

  2. mads2cents 

    That’s an amazing “bone yard” beneath the City of Lights. To be in the midst of rows of millions of ancient bones and skulls would be both fascinating and frightening to me. I’d wonder about the flesh bodies that once lived where only bones now reside. Don’t think I’d linger too long though in the damp and darkness. Just looking at the picture is quite eerie. That is a great shot, Ian!

    6/25/15

    1. lostboys 

      A strange sensation for sure Madilyn.
      Thanks

      6/25/15