The Catacombs of Paris

Paris has a deeper and stranger connection to its underground than almost any city, and that underground is one of the richest. The arteries and intestines of Paris, the hundreds of miles of tunnels that make up some of the oldest and densest subway and sewer networks in the world, are just the start of it. Under Paris there are spaces of all kinds: canals and reservoirs, crypts and bank vaults, wine cellars transformed into nightclubs and galleries. Most surprising of all are the carrières–the old stone quarries that fan out in a deep and intricate web under many neighborhoods, mostly in the southern part of the metropolis.

These sections of caverns and tunnels have been transformed into underground ossuaries, holding the remains of about 6 million people. Opened in the late 18th century, the underground cemetery became a tourist attraction on a small scale from the early 19th century, and has been open to the public on a regular basis from 1874.

The official name for these subterranean veins is l'Ossuaire Municipal. Although the cemetery portion covers only a small section of underground tunnels comprising “les carrières de Paris”, Parisians today often refer to the entire tunnel network as “The Catacombs.”


Weekend Wrap-Up :: April 1 - 8, 2012

1.) Tornado season made a shockingly violent debut for residents of the Dallas-Fort Worth area yesterday, as a series of as many as twelve tornados touched down across the region, leaving thousands without power and an estimated 650 homes damaged. -

2.) New Orleans played host to a true battle of college basketball heavyweights Monday night as the Kentucky Wildcats defeated the Kansas Jayhawks 67-59 to win the 2012 NCAA National Championship. The victory marks the 8th title in school history for the Wildcats, good for 2nd all-time. - ESPN

3.) Two Navy pilots ejected from a fighter jet Friday, sending the unmanned plane careening into a Virginia Beach apartment complex and tearing the roof off at least one building that was engulfed in flames, officials said. Six people, including both pilots, were taken to hospitals. - Associated Press

4.) Thomas Kinkade, the self-described “Painter of Light,” died Friday at age 54. He produced sentimental scenes of country gardens and pastoral landscapes in dewy morning light that were beloved by many but criticized by the art establishment. Kinkade died at his home in Los Gatos in the San Francisco Bay Area of what appeared to be natural causes. - Huffington Post

5.) The doors to Oakland’s “higher” education institution known as Oaksterdam University remained blocked off by yellow caution tape Tuesday after the school was targeted in a federal raid Monday afternoon. An army of agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Marshals Service descended on the campus, which is famed for its training in the medical-marijuana industry. - TIME NewsFeed

6.) Following expected primary victories over Rick Santorum in Maryland and D.C. Tuesday night, Mitt Romney won the biggest prize of the evening in Wisconsin, earning a significant number of delegates and bolstering his frontrunner status. - Yahoo!

7.) Employers added 120,000 jobs last month - half the December-February pace and well short of the 210,000 economists were expecting. The unemployment rate fell from 8.3 percent in February to 8.2 percent, the lowest since January 2009. - Associated Press

8.) Malicious software designed to steal personal information infected more than 600,000 Mac computers worldwide, warns a Russian cyber security firm. The Moscow-based anti-virus vendor Dr. Web said Wednesday malware known as the Flashback Trojan had managed to install itself on about 550,000 Apple Inc. computers around the world, with 57% of infected PCs in the U.S. and another 20% in Canada. - National Post