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Catacombs de Paris provides clandestine meeting spots

By Catholic Online
December 8th, 2010
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Among the most popular tourist sites in the City of Lights, the Catacombs de Paris houses the bones of six to seven million Parisians. The underground tunnel underneath the city goes on for many miles, the vast majority of it locked and inaccessible to the public. As such, the dank, dark passageway has provided to be a popular meeting spot for heartier souls.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - One of the most remarkable was the discovery of a secret movie theater uncovered there in 2004. Police descended deeper into the tunnels to discover a 400-square meter cavern with a fully equipped cinema.

The club featured a giant cinema screen, projection equipment, chairs and a handful of films, from film noir classics to recent thrillers. Someone had turned this abandoned underground cavern into a secret amphitheater.

In an adjoining room, police discovered a fully-stocked bar and restaurant, complete with tables and chairs. The discovery left police amazed, not to mention the professional installation of electricity and three phone lines.

When police returned with experts from the French Board of Electricity to try and figure out where the power was coming from, the cables had been cut with a note lying on which read, "Do not try and find us."

Some 200 miles of labyrinthine tunnels are believed to exist. Only a small section of it is open to the public. This tiny portion, known as Denfert-Rochereau Ossuary, or more popularly, "The Catacombs," has become one of the top tourist attractions in Paris.

Back in the late 18th century, cemeteries were becoming over-populated, causing problems for the inhabitants of Paris. With tons of empty quarries, police and priests alike discreetly moved the bones over the period of a few decades to the renovated section of the tunnel. The Catacombs became a popular attraction for royal families and the people of importance and in 1867; the area was opened to the general public.

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