Known throughout the world as “The City of Light” Paris, France is synonymous with everything beautiful, exciting, tasteful and enchanting. Known for its architecture, culture, cuisine and beautiful city plan you can travel the whole world and never find another location that compares.
Paris was founded in the 3rd century BC by a Celtic people called the Parisii, which is how the city got its name. Paris was the largest city in the west by the 12th century and a prosperous trading center. Paris was also the home of the University of Paris, one of the first universities in Europe.
By the 18th century Paris became an important center of finance, commerce, fashion, science and the arts, and it still holds that position today. Paris is the home of the Louvre, the most visited art museum, in the world, as well as Musée d’Orsay, noted for its collection of French Impressionist art, and the Musée National d’Art Moderne, a museum of modern and contemporary art.
Paris is often referred to as “The City of Light” because of the leading role it played during the Age of Enlightenment, and more literally because Paris was one of the first European cities to adopt gas street lights. During the 1860s, the boulevards and streets of Paris were lit by 56,000 gas lamps.
Always known as the center for art, by the turn of the 20th century, artists from around the world including Picasso, Modigliani and Matisse, made Paris their home. The city was the birthplace of such art forms as Fauvism, Cubism and abstract art. At the same time authors such as Marcel Proust were exploring new approaches to literature.
During the years after the First World War, Paris continued to be a mecca for writers, musicians and artists from all over the globe. Some of the greats include Ernest Hemingway, Igor Stravinsky, James Joyce, Josephine Baker, Sidney Bechet and the surrealist Salvador Dali.
With a city that has such a long history and is so full of life you know there also has to be a dark side to it as well, and there is. One of the darkest sides to Paris is the city’s Haunted Catacombs.
City of the dead
The catacombs were created when the city was faced with two different problems at the same time. Starting in 1774, there were a series of cave-ins and, simultaneously, Paris was faced with overflowing cemeteries, it seems that, at the time, people were just dying to get in.
From 1786 to 1788, there was a nightly procession of the transfer of human remains from the cemeteries to the reinforced tunnels below the city, with more remains being added in years to come.
The underground cemetery became a tourist attraction with limited attendance from the early 19th century, and has been open to the public on a regular basis since 1874, with surface access from a building at Place Denfert-Rochereau.
Several strange paranormal encounters are said to have occurred in the Paris Catacombs on a regular basis over the years. However, the spirits are often said to be felt more often than seen.
Many people have reported being grabbed or they have felt someone touching them and even grabbing their hands and clothing. People have been overcome by the experience and often pass out from pure fear.
Some of the tours have been cut short by the growing sense of unease caused by the experience. Several pictures taken in the Catacombs have revealed orbs and ghostly apparitions.
Needless to say, Paris has a lot to offer, even very active ghosts.
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