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City of Love, Underground Tunnels of Death

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Eiffel Tower and skulls in Paris catacombs

Disclaimer: Don’t read this post if you're currently eating or have recently watched a scary movie.

My parents and I ended their visit in Paris, the city of love. We stayed in a lovely Parisian hotel, complete with large windows with shutters, dainty toiletries, and complimentary pastries. The last time I was in Paris I was eight, so exploring it felt new and refreshing.

Well, maybe just new. 

I’d be lying if I said the entire trip was refreshing, because I spent a solid chunk of it in the mass graves under the city streets.

The Catacombs of Paris are home to the remains of more than six million people. That’s million, with an ‘M.' You see, back in the seventeenth century, Parisians were burying their dead in Les Innocents, the region's largest cemetery. After a while, though, the graveyard became overcrowded and tombs broke open, causing the stench of death began to flow through the air. This was unpleasant (obviously), and also insanely unsanitary. Bacteria caused people to fall ill, wine to go stale the second it was tapped, and crops to wither. The French needed a solution fast, so they began exhuming bodies from Les Innocents and storing them in unground tunnels, now known as the Catacombs.

I learned all of that on my walking tour! While I was literally staring eye to eye with said six million dead people…educational AND fun, am I right?

I probably won’t be visiting underground graves again anytime soon, but I’m glad I gave it a chance. My life motto is try everything once. You don't have to love it, or do it ever again, but you at least have to try it. This mindset has led me to jump out of a plane, eat a raw goat kidney, and now accidentally bump into a real life skull (don’t tell the catacomb workers).  

As the French say, “Qui vivra verra!” Those who live, shall see.

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