There’s nothing like a catacomb to pique the interest of any self-respecting urban explorer, and indeed there are uncounted “cataphiles” in Paris and around the world, all vying to get into the maze of mines and ossuaries sitting just below Paris. The catacombs have been partially open to the public since 1867, with tours every day taking the curious visitor through the macabre ossuary packed with the bones of centuries of putrefying Parisians.
The stone mines are a different story. Because of extremely dangerous conditions, the abandoned mines of Paris – the birthplace of plaster of Paris – are off limits to the public. That doesn’t stop intrepid cataphiles with a flashlight and a penchant for subterranean architecture from trying, and sometimes succeeding, to get in. Maybe not the day trip of choice for the tourist with a money belt and a pressed suit, but definitely a unique view on the City of Lights… in the dark.