To get away from the usual tourist trails, let’s take a walk on the darker side of Paris. There are so many mysteries to delve into! Did you know that a crocodile was once found in the sewers or that it is still possible to see traces of the guillotine in one of the most fashionable streets in Paris ...? Whether you’re a fan of news stories, history, ghosts or anatomical curiosities, enjoy this mesmerizing and exciting tour. From the Catacombes to the cemetery of Père-Lachaise and Palais Garnier Opéra house, Paris also knows how to give us a fright!
Our walk begins 20 metres underground … Welcome to the Catacombes, home to the bones of some 6 million people. The journey leads you through a macabre maze of dark galleries and narrow passageways. Careful not to get lost! That is what happened to poor Philibert Aspairt in 1793: his body was only discovered 11 years later … He was buried on the same spot and a mysterious tombstone recounts this tragic event to the visitor. Children under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult
Are you a fan of news stories? If so, you’ll certainly enjoy the Musée de la Préfecture de Police, on the 3rd floor of the police station in the 5th arrondissement! This picturesque and unusual place retraces the history of criminology from the 17th century to the present day. Among other things, you can see the orders for the arrest of Danton, and the macabre written accounts of Landru or the peephole through which a certain Dr. Petiot watched his victims die in agony. Terrifying!
Paris still bears traces of the darkest hours of its history. In the 19th century, the guillotine was located close to 166 bis Rue de la roquette, on the corner of Rue de la Croix-Faubin. At the level of the pedestrian crossing, you will notice five mysterious labs of stone embedded in the tarmac. Until 1899, it was here that 'Widow ' was installed.
Right in the heart of the Cemetery of Père-Lachaise stands an impressive mausoleum, more than 30 metres high. It is the grave of the Russian baroness Élisabeth Démidoff. According to legend, this wealthy aristocrat said that she would leave all her fortune to whoever would spend an entire year watching over her grave. Many have taken up the challenge … No one has succeeded!
Sometimes reality exceeds the imagination! The Saint-Louis hospital is home to one of the most unique places in the world: the Musée des Moulages, which has an impressive collection of more than 4,800 medical wax casts. Larger than life, these casts of dermatological details have a stomach-turning effect on visitors. Prohibited to – 12 yrs and by appointment only! Fancy some more medical explorations? As the Musée Dupuytren specializing in the history of medicine is closed until September 2016, another place the Musée de l'École Vétérinaire de Maisons-Alfort (better known as the Musée Fragonard) merits a detour. The weird and wonderful collections include a two-headed calf, a foetus of a cyclops pig; and don’t miss the famous Fragonard Écorchés. To get there, go to the République metro station and take line 8 direction Créteil. Get off at metro station École Vétérinaire de Maisons-Alfort. The entrance is at number 7 Avenue du Général-de-Gaulle.
Closure of the Musée des Egouts de Paris, from 2 July 2018 to early 2020, for renovation work. And why not enjoy the coolness six feet underground? According to rumours, the Egouts de Paris (Paris sewers) are home to fantastic creatures ... Don’t believe it? What is certain is that in 1984, a 1-metre-long crocodile was found there. No one knew how it got there. A real mystery.