• France's news in English

'Lucky' couple to spend night in Paris Catacombs

AFP · 13 Oct 2015, 08:19

Published: 13 Oct 2015 08:19 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Fancy spending the night alongside six million dead Parisians in the city's Catacombs?

Airbnb is offering people just that chance and has launched a competition on its website offering two people a night in the Catacombs on October 31, with a "real bed", dinner with private concert and breakfast.

"Before bedtime, a storyteller will have you spellbound with fascinating tales from the catacombs, guaranteed to produce nightmares. Finally, enjoy dawn with the dead, as you become the only living person ever to wake up in the Paris catacombs," reads the listing.

Town hall sources said Monday the California-based Airbnb paid up to €350,000 to privatise the tunnels.

The transfer of human remains from Parisian cemeteries to the tunnels began towards the end of the 18th century when authorities realised that the decomposition of bodies in the city's cemeteries was not particularly good for public health.

"It was said that the wine was turning bad and the milk was curdling," Sylvie Robin, the site's curator, told AFP in an interview last year.

Among the bones lining the walls of the two-kilometre (1.2-mile) long tunnels -- only a small part of a network of abandoned underground quarries -- are pictures and quotes about mortality.

"Think in the morning that you might not survive until the evening, and in the evening that you might survive until the morning," reads one.

The House Rules section on Airbnb, which allows property dwellers and owners to rent a room or entire home, warns guests to "respect the Catacombs as you would your own grave".

The Catacombs, some 20 metres under the sewers and metro system, lures some 500,000 visitors a year. It has already been rented out to film crews and for fashion shows.

Writers like Victor Hugo, Gaston Leroux and Anne Rice have all drawn inspiration from the spooky network of tunnels.

Story continues below…

Airbnb, which was launched in 2008 and now has some 40 million users worldwide, recently agreed to pay a tourist tax to Paris from each of its bookings in the city.

The website has raised the ire of traditional hotel chains who see it as a rival that flouts tax laws.

The Paris town hall said the privatisation of the Catacombs would "boost capital by finding new sources of revenue (and allow for) the preservation of this heritage site."

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

UK border must move back, says 'next French president'
Photo: AFP

If favourite Alain Juppé is elected, Britain and France are in for some difficult negotiations.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available