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The Catacombs of Paris or Catacombes de Paris are a famous underground ossuary in Paris, France. Located south of the former city gate, the "Barrière d'Enfer", at today's Place Denfert-Rochereau), the ossuary fills a renovated section of caverns and tunnels that are the remains of Paris' stone mines.

After descending a narrow spiral stone stairwell of 19 metres to the darkness and silence broken only by the gurgling of a hidden aqueduct channelling local sources away from the area, and after passing through a long and twisting hallway of mortared stone, visitors finds themselves before a sculpture that existed from a time before this part of the mines became an ossuary, a model of France's Port-Mahon fortress created by a former Quarry Inspector. Soon after, they would find themselves before a stone portal, the ossuary entry, graced with the inscription "Arrête, c'est ici l'empire de la Mort" ('Stop, this is the empire of Death').

Beyond begin the halls and caverns of walls of carefully arranged bones. Some of the arrangements are almost artistic in nature, such as a heart-shaped outline in one wall formed with skulls embedded in surrounding tibias; another is a round room whose central pillar is also a carefully created 'keg' bone arrangement.

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Additional Photos by Jerome Picault (jeromep) Silver Note Writer [C: 1 W: 0 N: 13] (217)
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