France’s capital is best known for being the most romantic city on earth, it’s quaint little corner cafés and the tree lined banks of the always glistening Seine. But Paris, like any grand European city has a somewhat dark and gritty underbelly that’ll wash those romantic notions far away, at least until you stop off at you next café anyway. Yes, Paris is an old city and with that comes plenty of legends, ghosts, murders and other such gloomy bits of history to boot. If this sounds like the Paris that you’d like to see then here are a few things you might want to consider visiting whilst you’re in La Ville Lumiere.

The Catacombs

This is truly one of the most intriguing sites in all of Paris, below its dreamy streets lie a network of tunnels and caverns that display the remains of around 6 million of the cities previous inhabitants, but these remains aren’t lying in coffins or hidden away, instead the line the very walls of these walkways. It’s an underground cemetery known as l’Ossuaire Municipal and to enter you must head to the entrance at the Barriere d’Enfer where you will find an ominous narrow stone stairwell that leads you into the darkness below, spooky. Once you begin to make your way through the catacombs, you’ll see countless human skulls as well as bones stacked upon each other, it certainly is a sight you won’t forget. Some are even made into artsy formations like hearts, I suppose even below the earth in Paris romance can be found. You’ll find that bodies from all sorts of historic events have been buried here such as the riots of Place de Greve in 1788 and you’ll even be able to see some graffiti dating back to the same century. Though a macabre trip it is, it’s certainly worth taking the time to visit.

The Catacombs

Pere Lachaise Cemetery

Let’s keep things morbid as we know head on to Pere Lachaise Cemetery, a place where you can go and see the graves of plenty of histories well known celebs. Naturally as with most places in this wonderful city you can simply take in the area’s characteristic beauty, and despite its subject matter it really is a great place for a stroll. But whilst here you may want to take note of names such as the illustrious Irish writer Oscar Wilde and the infamous French Singer Edith Piaf, as well as many more well-known graves. It’s sort of a morbid walk of fame if you will.

The Paris Ghost Walk

Finally, a great way to experience Paris spooky side whilst also learning all about its marvellous history is by taking a ghost walk. Here you’ll be taken around some of the city’s most haunted spots on the lookout for the ghosts of Louis XVII and his wife Marie Antionette as well as trying to see one of the great many victims if the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre. It’s a great way to learn all about the area and an even better way to see the dark side of Paris.