The Paris "I See Dead People Tour"

An Offbeat Walking Tour

Author: The Traveling Professor/Friday, December 11, 2015/Categories: Paris

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Paris has glamorous attractions like the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, and the Cathedral of Notre Dame.  However, after you’ve seen all the touristy stuff, it’s time to do something out of the ordinary.  Take a look at this plan of attack for a truly unusual experience.

Get on the métro for a long ride to the outside environs of Paris for a date with history at the Basilique Saint-Denis.  It is situated on the burial place of virtually all of the kings and queens of France since Clovis in 511.  During the French revolution, many of the buried bodies were unceremoniously dug up and placed in a mass grave on the site, but the monuments still remain.  In any case, it is the final resting place of monarchs such as Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI.  Don’t miss the mummified remains of the dauphin (prince) who would have been Louis XVII.  If you like the macabre, this is the place to be.  Get the audio guide – it will greatly enhance the visit.  Métro: Basilique de Saint-Denis.  Museum Pass:  Yes

Website: www.saint-denis.monuments-nationaux.fr/en/?fl_r=11.

The next stop on this I See Dead People tour is the famous Père Lachaise cemetery located at the métro station of the same name.  It is the final vacation spot of luminaries such as Jim Morrison, Max Ernst, Edith Piaf, and many more.  Be sure to visit the cemetery’s website or get hold of a map in order to plan the visit.  The best place to buy the map is at the cemetery entrance nearest the métro station.  The grounds are widespread and the hilly paths are winding and made up of cobblestones.  No admission fee is required. Website: www.pere-lachaise.com.

Next, a visit to the Catacombs, located near the Denfert-Rochereau métro station is as off-beat as can be.  When the cemeteries of central Paris became overcrowded and unsanitary in the 1700’s, they carted off the remains of over six million skeletons and placed them in this underground ossuary.  Bring a flashlight and watch your head.  They will check to make sure you didn’t take along any “souvenirs” upon exiting the Catacombs.  There is an admission charge of about €7 not covered by the Museum Pass.  Website: www.catacombes-de-paris.fr.

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