Paris Catacombs open at night ahead of Halloween

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Paris Catacombs open at night ahead of Halloween
Skulls and bones are stacked next to a commemorative plaque at the Catacombs of Paris on October 14, 2014. These underground quarries were used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris' cemeteries at the end of the 18th century, and are now a popular tourist attraction. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIK (Photo credit should read PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images)
Skulls and bones are stacked at the Catacombs of Paris on October 14, 2014. These underground quarries were used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris' cemeteries at the end of the 18th century, and are now a popular tourist attraction. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIK (Photo credit should read PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images)
A photo taken on October,14, 2014 at the Paris catacombs of Paris shows bones stacked and arranged. The underground quarries were used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris cemeteries at the end of the 18th century, and are now a popular tourist attraction AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIK RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo credit should read PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images)
A photo taken on October,14, 2014 at the Paris catacombs of Paris shows the footbath of carriers, a small pit containing clear water once used by workers working on the consolidation of the ossuary. The underground quarries were used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris cemeteries at the end of the 18th century, and are now a popular tourist attraction AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIK RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo credit should read PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images)
A photo taken on October,14, 2014 at the Paris catacombs of Paris shows a corridor with the inscription: 'Stop! Here is the empire of death'. The underground quarries were used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris cemeteries at the end of the 18th century, and are now a popular tourist attraction AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIK RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo credit should read PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images)
A photo taken on October,14, 2014 at the Paris catacombs of Paris shows a view of the quarries. The underground quarries were used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris cemeteries at the end of the 18th century, and are now a popular tourist attraction AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIK RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo credit should read PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images)
Skulls and bones are stacked at the Catacombs of Paris on October 14, 2014. These underground quarries were used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris' cemeteries at the end of the 18th century, and are now a popular tourist attraction. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIK (Photo credit should read PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images)
Skulls and bones from the defunct Holy Innocents' Cemetery are stacked at the Catacombs of Paris on October 14, 2014. These underground quarries were used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris' cemeteries at the end of the 18th century, and are now a popular tourist attraction. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIK (Photo credit should read PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images)
Skulls and bones are stacked at the Catacombs of Paris on October 14, 2014. These underground quarries were used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris' cemeteries at the end of the 18th century, and are now a popular tourist attraction. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIK (Photo credit should read PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images)
Skulls and bones are stacked at the Catacombs of Paris on October 14, 2014. These underground quarries were used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris' cemeteries at the end of the 18th century, and are now a popular tourist attraction. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIK (Photo credit should read PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images)
Skulls and bones are stacked at the Catacombs of Paris on October 14, 2014. These underground quarries were used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris' cemeteries at the end of the 18th century, and are now a popular tourist attraction. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIK (Photo credit should read PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images)
Skulls and bones are stacked at the Catacombs of Paris on October 14, 2014. These underground quarries were used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris' cemeteries at the end of the 18th century, and are now a popular tourist attraction. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIK (Photo credit should read PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images)
Skulls and bones are stacked at the Catacombs of Paris on October 14, 2014. These underground quarries were used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris' cemeteries at the end of the 18th century, and are now a popular tourist attraction. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIK (Photo credit should read PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture shows skulls and bones stacked at the Catacombs of Paris on October 14, 2014. These underground quarries were used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris' cemeteries at the end of the 18th century, and are now a popular tourist attraction. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIK (Photo credit should read PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images)
Photo taken on August 7, 2014 at the Catacombs of Paris shows a view of the quarries. These underground quarries were used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris' cemeteries at the end of the 18th century, and are now a popular tourist attraction. AFP PHOTO/DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
Photo taken on August 7, 2014 at the Catacombs of Paris shows a sculpture made in 1777 by a quarryman named Decure. These underground quarries were used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris' cemeteries at the end of the 18th century, and are now a popular tourist attraction. AFP PHOTO/DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture shows skulls and bones stacked at the Catacombs of Paris on October 14, 2014. These underground quarries were used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris' cemeteries at the end of the 18th century, and are now a popular tourist attraction. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIK (Photo credit should read PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images)
Photo taken on August 7, 2014 at the Catacombs of Paris shows a view of the 'bain de pieds de carriers', a small pit containing clear water once used by workers working on the consolidation of the ossuary. The Catacombs are underground quarries which were used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris' cemeteries at the end of the 18th century, and are now a popular tourist attraction. AFP PHOTO/DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
Photo taken on August 7, 2014 at the Catacombs of Paris shows a sculpture made in 1777 by a quarryman named Decure. These underground quarries were used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris' cemeteries at the end of the 18th century, and are now a popular tourist attraction. AFP PHOTO/DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman visits the Catacombs of Paris on October 14, 2014. These underground quarries were used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris' cemeteries at the end of the 18th century, and are now a popular tourist attraction. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIK (Photo credit should read PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images)
Photo taken on August 7, 2014 at the Catacombs of Paris shows a sculpture made in 1777 by a quarryman named Decure. These underground quarries were used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris' cemeteries at the end of the 18th century, and are now a popular tourist attraction. AFP PHOTO/DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
Photo taken on August 7, 2014 at the Catacombs of Paris shows bones stacked and arranged. These underground quarries were used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris' cemeteries at the end of the 18th century, and are now a popular tourist attraction.Sign denotes that the bones are from the Innocents cemetery and stocked here on July 2, 1809. AFP PHOTO/DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
Photo taken on August 7, 2014 at the Catacombs of Paris shows bones stacked and arranged. These underground quarries were used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris' cemeteries at the end of the 18th century, and are now a popular tourist attraction. AFP PHOTO/DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
Photo taken on August 7, 2014 at the Catacombs of Paris shows bones stacked and arranged. These underground quarries were used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris' cemeteries at the end of the 18th century, and are now a popular tourist attraction. AFP PHOTO/DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
Photo taken on August 7, 2014 at the Catacombs of Paris shows skulls and bones stacked and arranged. These underground quarries were used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris' cemeteries at the end of the 18th century, and are now a popular tourist attraction. AFP PHOTO/DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
Photo taken on August 7, 2014 at the Catacombs of Paris shows skulls and bones stacked and arranged. These underground quarries were used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris' cemeteries at the end of the 18th century, and are now a popular tourist attraction. AFP PHOTO/DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
Photo taken on August 7, 2014 at the Catacombs of Paris shows bones stacked and arranged. These underground quarries were used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris' cemeteries at the end of the 18th century, and are now a popular tourist attraction. AFP PHOTO/DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
Photo taken on August 7, 2014 at the Catacombs of Paris shows skulls and bones stacked and arranged. These underground quarries were used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris' cemeteries at the end of the 18th century, and are now a popular tourist attraction. AFP PHOTO/DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
Photo taken on August 7, 2014 at the Catacombs of Paris shows bones stacked and arranged. These underground quarries were used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris' cemeteries at the end of the 18th century, and are now a popular tourist attraction. AFP PHOTO/DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
Photo taken on August 7, 2014 at the Catacombs of Paris shows bones stacked and arranged. These underground quarries were used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris' cemeteries at the end of the 18th century, and are now a popular tourist attraction. AFP PHOTO/DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
People queue to visit the Catacombs of Paris on August 7, 2014 which hold over six million skulls and bones. These underground quarries were used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris' cemeteries at the end of the 18th century, and are now a popular tourist attraction. AFP PHOTO/DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
A sign shows the way to the Catacombs of Paris on August 7, 2014 which hold over six million skulls and bones. These underground quarries were used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris' cemeteries at the end of the 18th century, and are now a popular tourist attraction. AFP PHOTO/DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
A man walks, on April 3, 2010 next to a column made of skulls and bones at the Catacombs of Paris. These sub-terrainian quarries had been used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris' cemeteries at the end of the 18th century. AFP PHOTO BORIS HORVAT (Photo credit should read BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images)
Picture taken on April 3, 2010 at the Catacombs of Paris shows skulls. These sub-terrainian quarries had been used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris' cemeteries at the end of the 18th century. AFP PHOTO BORIS HORVAT (Photo credit should read BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images)
Picture taken on April 3, 2010 at the Catacombs of Paris shows skulls. These sub-terrainian quarries had been used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris' cemeteries at the end of the 18th century. AFP PHOTO BORIS HORVAT (Photo credit should read BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images)
Picture taken on April 3, 2010 at the Catacombs of Paris shows skulls. These sub-terrainian quarries had been used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris' cemeteries at the end of the 18th century. AFP PHOTO BORIS HORVAT (Photo credit should read BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images)
TO GO WITH AFP STORY by KERSTIN LOEFFLER - FILES - Human skulls are displayed on April 30, 2008 in the official section of Paris' catacombs. These sub-terrainian quarries had been used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris' cemeteries at the end of the 18th century. AFP PHOTO OLIVIER LABAN MATTEI (Photo credit should read OLIVIER LABAN-MATTEI/AFP/Getty Images)
TO GO WITH AFP STORY IN FRENCH BY ANNICK BENOIST: 'Les Catacombes de Paris rouvrent au public apr?s restauration '. Human skulls are displayed on April 30, 2008 in the official section of Paris' catacombs. These sub-terrainian quarries had been used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris' cemeteries at the end of the 18th century. Public access to visitors reopens on May 1, 2008 following renovation works. AFP PHOTO OLIVIER LABAN MATTEI (Photo credit should read OLIVIER LABAN-MATTEI/AFP/Getty Images)
TO GO WITH AFP STORY IN FRENCH BY ANNICK BENOIST: 'Les Catacombes de Paris rouvrent au public apr?s restauration '. Human bones are displayed on April 30, 2008 in the official section of Paris' catacombs. These sub-terrainian quarries had been used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris' cemeteries at the end of the 18th century. Public access to visitors reopens on May 1, 2008 following renovation works. AFP PHOTO OLIVIER LABAN MATTEI (Photo credit should read OLIVIER LABAN-MATTEI/AFP/Getty Images)
TO GO WITH AFP STORY IN FRENCH BY ILAN CARO - Picture taken in the catacombs of Paris on August 2, 2008. Parts of the French capital are riddled with around 250 kilometres (150 miles) of underground tunnels, some of them dating from mediaeval times, and adepts who call themselves 'cataphiles' are known to frequent them illegally and occasionally decorate galleries to hold parties or meetings. AFP PHOTO OLIVIER LABAN-MATTEI (Photo credit should read OLIVIER LABAN-MATTEI/AFP/Getty Images)
TO GO WITH AFP STORY by KERSTIN LOEFFLER - FILES - A picture taken in 2002 shows a sign incicating the way to the catacombs in Paris. These sub-terrainian quarries had been used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris' cemeteries at the end of the 18th century. AFP PHOTO BOYAN TOPALOFF (Photo credit should read Boyan Topaloff/AFP/Getty Images)
1955: British actor Alec Guinness (1914 - 2000) on location in the catacombs of Paris during filming of 'Father Brown', in which he plays G K Chesterton's famous priest detective. Titled 'The Detective' in the US, the film was directed by Robert Hamer for Columbia. (Photo by Vagn Hansen/BIPs/Getty Images)
In this photo taken Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014, the footbath of carriers, a small pit containing clear water once used by workers working on the consolidation of the ossuary at the Catacombs in Paris, France. As if visiting the Paris Catacombs in the daytime weren't creepy enough _ soon you can visit the underground maze of skeletons at night, too. The subterranean tunnels, which once gave refuge to smugglers and saints, cradle the bones of some 6 million Parisians from centuries past. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
In this photo taken Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014, skulls and bones are stacked at the Catacombs in Paris, France. As if visiting the Paris Catacombs in the daytime weren't creepy enough _ soon you can visit the underground maze of skeletons at night, too. The subterranean tunnels, which once gave refuge to smugglers and saints, cradle the bones of some 6 million Parisians from centuries past. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
ADVANCE TO GO WITH TRAVEL STORY FOR HALLOWEEN ON WORLD S CREEPIEST PLACES, ATTENTION BETH HARPAZ - A foundation date is engraved in the catacombs of Paris where the bones are stacked up, Friday Aug.14, 2009. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)
A man is shadowed in the catacombs, Wednesday Sept. 15, 2004, in Paris. The City of Light harbors a vast network of subterranean tunnels that once gave refuge to bandits, smugglers and saints and cradles the remains of some 6 million Parisians. Today, this eery maze is the haunt of living spirits, from youths looking for adventure to urban explorers carving out a new frontier. An underground movie house replete with bar, phone service and reportedly even a toilet, recently discovered by police, is but a slice of a secretive underworld that thrives below Paris, those connected with the project say. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
ADVANCE TO GO WITH TRAVEL STORY FOR HALLOWEEN ON WORLD S CREEPIEST PLACES, ATTENTION BETH HARPAZ - Human bones pile up in the catacombs of Paris, Friday Aug.14, 2009. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)
In this photo taken Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014, skulls and bones are stacked at the Catacombs in Paris, France. As if visiting the Paris Catacombs in the daytime weren't creepy enough _ soon you can visit the underground maze of skeletons at night, too. The subterranean tunnels, which once gave refuge to smugglers and saints, cradle the bones of some 6 million Parisians from centuries past. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
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PARIS (AP) - As if visiting the Paris Catacombs in the daytime wasn't creepy enough - you can now visit the underground maze of skeletons after nightfall, too. That is if you dare defy the warning at the entrance: "Stop, this is the empire of Death."

The subterranean tunnels, stretching 2 kilometers (1.2 miles), cradle the bones of some 6 million Parisians from centuries past and once gave refuge to smugglers.

Twenty meters (66 feet) beneath the French capital's medieval streets, labyrinthine walls of bones and skulls bring visitors into the city of the dead, in a spooky atmosphere that attracts history enthusiasts as well as visitors looking for a chilling place to celebrate Halloween.

The site used to close at 5 p.m., but is now staying open until 8 p.m. The change is mainly aimed at allowing more people to visit and reducing long lines, but it also adds to the thrill: entering and leaving the catacombs after dark feels different from doing it in daylight.

Human remains started to be transferred to the former underground quarries of Paris in 1786, when the main cemetery of Paris -the Cemetery of Innocents - was closed for public health reasons. From 1809 on, the catacombs were rearranged into organized galleries, with piled bones forming walls and pillars, and even some artistic shapes made of femurs and skulls.

Sacred and profane maxims and poems are posted around the galleries, such as: "Think in the morning that perhaps you won't survive until evening, and in the evening that perhaps you won't survive until morning."

Valerie Guillaume, director of the Catacombs, stressed the philosophical nature of the unusual tourist site.

"The place was not conceived to be a horror place, but as a reflection on the meaning of life and death," she said.

Sylvie Robin, the Catacombs' curator, described the extensive smuggling that went on in the tunnels in the past and contributed to its scary reputation.

"That's the origin of all the legends," she said, because the smugglers used to scare the Parisians with lights and noises, so that no one would come and see what they were doing.

___

Open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (last admission at 7 p.m.), closed on Mondays and public holidays. General admission: 10 euros (about $12.70). Tour of 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) takes around 45 minutes, with 130 steps to go down and 83 steps back up to street level. Not accessible to people with reduced mobility.
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