The Catacombs of Paris


A section of the catacombs in 2019. Photo by Holly Frey

The Catacombs contain the bones of an estimated 6 to 7 million people. Their history is really two interconnected stories of mines and human remains, because in the 18thcentury, Paris was dealing with two huge problems simultaneously.

Tracy's Research:

  • Legacey, Erin-Marie. “Making Space for the Dead: Catacombs, Cemeteries and the Reimagining of Paris, 1780-1830.” Cornell University Press. 2019.
  • Musée Carnavalet - Histoire de Paris. “Site History.” Les Catacombes de Paris. http://catacombes.paris.fr/en/history/site-history
  • Musée Carnavalet - Histoire de Paris. “Geology and the Quarries.” Les Catacombes de Paris. http://catacombes.paris.fr/en/history/geology-and-quarries
  • Musée Carnavalet - Histoire de Paris. “The Ossuary.” Les Catacombes de Paris. http://catacombes.paris.fr/en/history/ossuary
  • Geiling, Natasha. “Beneath Paris’ City Streets, There’s an Empire of Death Waiting for Tourists.” Smithsonian. 3/28/2014. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/paris-catacombs-180950160/
  • Legacey, Erin-Marie. “The Paris Catacombs: Remains and Reunion beneath the Postrevolutionary City.” French Historical Studies. Vol. 40, Issue 3. August 2017. https://read.dukeupress.edu/french-historical-studies/article/40/3/509/129542/The-Paris-CatacombsRemains-and-Reunion-beneath-the
  • Meier, Allison. “How the Paris Catacombs Solved a Cemetery Crisis.” JSTOR Daily. 7/23/2019. https://daily.jstor.org/how-the-paris-catacombs-solved-a-cemetery-crisis/
  • Elzas, Sarah. “The man who saved Paris from sinking.” RFI English. 3/31/2011. http://en.rfi.fr/culture/20110331-vestiges-revolution-underground
  • MacFarlane, Robert. “The Invisible City Beneath Paris.” The New Yorker. 5/23/2019. https://www.newyorker.com/news/dispatch/the-invisible-city-beneath-paris
  • Le Roux, Thomas. “Transforming Paris into an Industrial Capital: Competing Discourses (1750–1820).” L'Esprit Créateur. Volume 55, Number 3, Fall 2015. Via Project Muse. doi:10.1353/esp.2015.0042.
  • Shea, Neil. “Under Paris.” National Geographic.
  • SOURKES, THEODORE L. “The Origins of Neurochemistry: The Chemical Study of the Brain in France at the End of the Eighteenth Century.” Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, vol. 47, no. 3, 1992, pp. 322–339. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/24622818.
  • Les Annales des Mines. “Charles Axel GUILLAUMOT (1730-1807).” http://www.annales.org/archives/x/guillaumot.html

Topics in this Podcast: 18th century, burials, Paris, French history, European history, Halloween episodes, 19th century