Many cities have haunted stories. Paris just happens to be one of the more beautiful ones.
In the 1700’s Paris was running out of space for living people and needed a solution so they decided to relocate the dead. Utilizing former stone quarries which snake underneath the heart of the city the choice was made to relocate all the bones from the cimetière des Innocents graveyard and create what we now know as the catacombs. Starting in the 1780’s bones were relocated from cemeteries all over the city until 1814. It would be another 40+ years before the catacombs became open to visitors. What these visitors would see are rows of artfully displayed human bones lining the walls of the former quarry. Skulls stacked together on one wall and femurs along another. In many places the bones are organized into intricate patterns. Any bones that didn’t fit into the designs were heaped behind the walls. It is said that the spirits of the displaced and disassembled haunt the location. People have been reporting paranormal activity for decades. Everything from orbs in photos to shadowy figures lurking in the corridors. It is said that I have only been there once and didn’t have the time to linger very long. It’s definitely worth seeing in person, just make sure you have plenty of time to spend. Photography is now only permitted with special permission to protect the integrity of the bones so you will have to rely on your memory.
The largest cemetery in Paris is home to many notable residents like Marcel Marceau, Frederic Chopin, Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde. It is also the most visited cemetery in the world. Morrison is said to haunt the area around his grave occasionally showing up in photos. Unfortunately he didn’t show up in mine above. Marcel Proust and Maurice Ravel, lovers in life, are said to rise at night in search of each other in death. Visitors also claim that Adolphe Thiers (prime minister under King Louis-Philippe) tugs at the clothing of those near his tomb. Other orbs and disembodied spirits have also been reported through out the grounds. I wasn’t lucky enough to see or capture anything paranormal. Even without a ghost sighting the cemetery is incredibly beautiful.
The only museum in the world dedicated entirely to vampires it is now on the top of my to do list while living here in France. It’s a small room and garden owned and operated by self-proclaimed ‘vampirologist’ Jacques Sirgent who has collected all the exhibits personally. Exhibits include authentic vampire hunting kits and a mummified cat. The museum is private so if you want to visit you need to book in advance.
Surprised to see this on the list? You shouldn’t be. For some odd reason more than 400 people have jumped from the 1889 World’s Fair entrance. Not everyone who plummeted from the tower perished. One woman who sprung from the top floor landed on a man’s car. After recovering she married the car’s owner. There are others who didn’t take the dive on purpose. It is said that the ghost of a woman who was murdered by a scorned lover still stands on the spot where she was last seen alive. Reportedly she giggles, then pleas, then screams.
There are also dozens of haunted walking tours you can find to help you explore the city. Whether you are looking for vampires, ghosts, or just stories of notable figures you can find what you are looking for.