The hotel rental “home sharing” website is offering up the overnight visit for the very first time, and in fact, the two visitors will be the first (living) people to spend the night with six million skeletons in the Catacombs.
Located 20 meters below street level, the Catacombs are more of a labyrinth than a graveyard. When visitors first descend into the tunnels, they’re greeted with an inscription:
“Arrete, c’est ici l’empire de la mort!” (“Halt! This is the empire of death!”)
The graveyard first underwent construction during the late 18th century, according to The Guardian, when authorities began transferring decomposing bodies from Parisian cemeteries into the tombs. According to historical records, the noxious gases began jeopardizing the health of living residents in Paris; authorities even stated that because of the gases, milk was curdling and wine was turning bad.
Over the years, Paris’s overcrowded cemeteries were emptied out and the remains of millions of bodies were moved into the Catacombs.
Spanning 300 kilometers, most of the skull-lined tombs are closed to the public but have still generated plenty of interest from visitors across the world.
As CNN and the BBC reported, around 500,000 people visit the attraction each year — not nearly as many visitors as Paris’s famous museums or landmarks might attract, but still pretty impressive for a massive underground graveyard.
Airbnb reportedly paid around $400,000 to “rent out” the famous mausoleum for a night, which included some renovation projects to ensure that the overnighters are safe.
Although, as many have noted, the Catacombs are hardly considered a safe place to spend any night, much less the scariest night of the year.
Airbnb has already made sure to set some house rules, which include not to “follow ghosts through the galleries” and to “respect the catacombs as you would your own grave.”
Nevertheless, the travel company has made it clear that the visit is intended to be fun (depending on your definition of “fun”) and it has set up a “private underground concert and bedtime storytelling” for the overnighters.
Airbnb has raised quite a few eyebrows lately, as many businesses in the tourism industry have stated that the company is bypassing hotel tax laws and putting its customers at risk, due to a lack of security measures.
For anyone who wishes to take this particular risk, the Catacombs listing is open on Airbnb’s website until October 20 at 11:59 p.m. (CET). But for those who would rather sleep among the living, it’s still possible to find comfortable accommodations above ground and make a stop at the Catacombs during the day.
“Autumn is a fabulous time to visit Paris,” says Alley Bradley, Managing Director, Paris Copia. “The weather is still seasonable and there are plenty of events that run through October and November. Early October is Paris Fashion Week which happens every year and is always a week of star-studded events. Halloween events are happening all around the city including the Annual American Library in Paris Halloween Extravaganza which is a jam-packed day of festivities for kids, teens and adults. On November 5, Paris Shangri-La’s monthly “100% Green” Gourmet Dinner will be served in the hotel’s gorgeous Bauhinia restaurant. There is still time to reserve your table!”