There are many unexplored attractions in the capital city of France, which are worth including in your Paris tours. In fact, many of these attractions are kept hidden from the eyes of the usual tourists. However, below are a few Parisian attractions that you must include in your private Paris tours.
Catacombes de Paris
The Parisian catacombs are famous across the world and hold many secrets that are stranger than the stack of bones. There have been quarry tunnels in the outskirts of the city since the time of Romans. As per historians, the limestone in these quarries was used to make the Paris that we know of today. With the expansion of the city, a busy metropolis came directly over the quarries. It is believed that about two hundred miles of connected tunnels exist under the city.
Only a very small section of the underground tunnels is open to the public. This tiny part is called the Denfert-Rochereau Ossuary or “The Catacombs” as popularly known and has become one of top attractions in the city of Paris. The part open to the public houses the skeletons of almost six million dead people.
In the late eighteenth century, the cemeteries in the city were becoming full. Cemeteries like the Les Innocents were so populated that it lead to improper burials, unearthed corpses, and open graves. Due to the unhealthy conditions of the cemetery, neighbors started getting sick with many infectious diseases.
Many other cemeteries in the city were getting overpopulated as well, leading to many problems to the Parisians. With so many empty quarries, the priests and the police decided to move the skeletal remains to the renovated areas of the tunnel. This became the catacombs and later became a very popular attraction for people of royal families.
In the year 1867, the catacombs were opened to the public. Due to the old age of the tunnels, quarries that were not part of the catacombs were deemed unsafe by the officials. However, the length and size of the tunnels make it really difficult to keep out thieves, secret societies, artists, and many others from entering the tunnels.
In the year 1980, a movement started which was dedicated to the exploration of the tunnels. Owing to vandalism and theft of skulls, the catacombs were closed from October to December in 2009, and then reopened with increased security and baggage checking on exit.
Museum of Vampires
When you enter the Museum of Vampires and Legendary Creatures, genuine human remains and plastic bats attached to trees will welcome you. The story of this unique museum started many years ago, when Jacques Sirgent, a specialist of macabre and a highly knowledgeable scholar, opened the museum as a manifestation of his research on occidental folkore, vampirism, and esoterism. He has spent a lifetime collecting syncretic information, rare texts, and many more, which can be seen as exhibits in the museum.
You can learn about the cryptic history of Paris and the cemeteries where vampire rituals were practiced, and the superstitions that are prevailing about the undead. You can also understand about the medieval Christian hierarchy and their crusade against sins.
The museum can be very interesting to the tourists and is filled with Dracula toys, vampire killing kits, Hammer Film collectibles, and many antique books. The clutter of art, popular myths, and literature will remind you the stories of old witches and sorcerers, which you might have heard in your childhood.
Père Lachaise Cemetery
This is the most famous cemetery in France and was originally established by Napoleon. You can find the tombs of many famous people here in the cemetery, as it is home to many notable graves. The tomb of Oscar Wilde is worth visiting and you can see the kiss marks of devoted fans on the tombstone.
Another important grave is that of Jim Morrison. His grave is a constant source of strife. Many of the visitors leave bouquets of roses, full bottles of Jim Beam, and many other mementos as offerings to the singer. In fact, the grave and its premises were once decorated with graffiti, but Jim’s parents cleaned the area in 1994. Unfortunately, fanatics started to chip concrete pieces off the liner of the grave and this has made the cemetery staff to place a steel fence around the grave. They have also increased the number of guards watching the visitors.
The grave of Allen Kardek is another important one in the cemetery. He is considered the father of Spiritism in France. The real name of Allen Kardek was Hypolyte Leon Denizard Rivail. Both the names, “Allan” and “Kardec” were said to have been his name in his previous incarnations. Le Livre des Esprits (The Spirits’ Book) is his classic and was published in 1856. The book explains a new theory of human destiny and life.