Sponsored Post: Spooky Paris: The Dark Corners of the City of Lights

Paris is most commonly associated with romance, fashion and world-class cuisine, but there is also a darker, spookier side to this historic city. Anyone booking late holidays to the French capital in time for Halloween might like to be aware of these spookier places – if not to investigate them, then to at least avoid them after dark…

The Catacombs The spookiest place in Paris is without a doubt the Catacombs, also known as L’Empire de la Mort (Empire of the Dead). This former stone quarry, a system of tunnels beneath the city streets, became the dumping ground for the bones of over 6 million Parisians during the 18th century. There was a time when the city’s cemeteries became so full that the ground swelled, and the residents of Paris suffered much unpleasantness. In the Cimetière des Innocents alone there were more than 30 generations of human remains buried in one small space. With not enough room for everyone, the deceased had to be removed. Cemeteries were exhumed, and in 1788 the bones were transported on covered wagons in the dead of night, where they were tipped unceremoniously into the quarries. Over the years the bones were stacked into some semblance of order, forming walls of skulls and bones. Few would have expected the dead to protest against such treatment, but many say the tunnels are haunted. Several visitors have reported a feeling of being followed, temperatures suddenly dropping, and hearing whisperings when there is nobody else there. Address: 1 Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, 75014. Metro stop: Denfert-Rochereau

Pere Lachaise Cemetery It’s easy to enjoy cheap holidays in Paris, simply because many the city’s most intriguing sights are free to visit. The cemeteries of Paris are a particular highlight and worth taking time to explore. As well as being quite beautiful in their design, many are home to some famous names. This should definitely be on your list if you’re in Paris for Halloween, as the following day is La Toussaint – or All Saints Day. This is a public holiday when the saints are honoured and the dead remembered, and both locals and visitors flock to the city’s cemeteries to lay flowers and try to connect with the spirits of the deceased. With much of the city closed for the day, it’s worth joining in and adding to the beautiful floral displays. The most well-known Parisian cemetery is Pere Lachaise, the last resting place of many famous people; but with the remains of over 300,000 people buried here, it’s little wonder it is also said to be haunted. The ghost of the young composer Chopin is said to have been seen on more than one occasion, and many have reported seeing a figure sitting on the grave of Jim Morrison. A mysterious woman in white is also said to roam the cemetery and has been seen by a number of visitors who often try to approach her before she vanishes completely. Address: 15 Boulevard de Ménilmontant, Paris, 75011. Metro: Pere Lachaise

Château de Versailles Château de Versailles, on the outskirts of Paris, may be most famous for its beautiful palatial gardens and opulent interiors. Yet there is much talk about ghosts in this historic palace. The most famous story took place in 1901, when two female academics visiting the chateau took a stroll in the garden. Soon they became lost, and suddenly both felt an unusually dark mood overcome them, which one later described as an “extraordinary depression.” Neither could explain the mood as they were enjoying the day. They witnessed a number of strange people in the garden and near the house, including two men in very dignified uniforms, a man with a pock-marked face sitting near a gazebo, and a woman in grand dress sitting in a chair sketching or reading. Eventually they found themselves back where they had started, but both felt that something strange had happened. They wrote separate accounts of what they saw and after much research to match their claims many believe that in fact, they had been witness to the ghosts of Marie-Antoinette – who had been beheaded 108 years before – and her cohorts. Address: Place d’Armes, Versailles. Nearest train stop: Versailles–Rive Gauche

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