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How to Avoid Lines at the Paris Catacombes

The Paris Catacombes are known for their long waiting lines. No one likes wasting time in lines, right? A popular misconception is that going “early” is the best tactic to avoid lines. When I run past in the morning at 9am – a full hour before they open – there are already at least a dozen people standing in front of the door. They have guaranteed they’ll be waiting an hour to get in. That’s just absurd.

As I’ve mentioned before, almost everyone goes to the museums first thing in the morning. That means the best time to go is in the afternoon, two hours before closing time is optimal. And since 2014 the Catacombes have extended their opening hours to 8:30pm, with the last entrance at 7:30pm, you have plenty of time if you go right around 6pm. In fact, the official website even recommends visiting Wednesday through Friday after 5pm for the shortest wait times.

But let’s say you just can’t take a chance on waiting for even a few minutes, so you want to purchase a “skip the line” ticket for a specific time. Up until now the only option was to book a group tour through one of the many tour operators selling tickets for €48-€85 per person. I usually tell people it’s not worth it for that price, considering the actual entrance price is only €13, and the audio guide an additional €5. There’s another option you won’t find on TripAdvisor or Viator. 

Best-Value Catacombes Skip the Line Tickets

To save money (or avoid being in a “group”, which I know many of the Secrets of Paris readers hate), you can now actually book your tickets in advance through the official Paris Municipal Museums website for just €29 per person (kids 5-17 years old are €5), including audio-guide in several languages. It used to be very complicated to get these tickets, and they were only available on the French website. But now that all has changed and you can easily book the exact date and time you want to visit HERE

Paris Catacombes
1 Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy (Place Denfert-Rochereau), 14th 
Metro/RER Denfert-Rochereau 
Opening hours are Tuesday-Sunday 10am-8:30pm (last entry 7:30pm).

The new entrance of the Paris Catacombes (replaced the one in the little green building in 2017). 

Warning: there are no bathrooms, no coat or bag check, a lot of stairs…and a lot of bones. But you no longer need flashlights, the lighting was completely redone a few years ago. Tripods are not allowed.

 

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  • Is it worth the extra money to pay for the special access or private guide tour? Or is the audioguide the way to go?

  • Hi Gab, It actually takes 1-1.5 hours to just walk through the space (entrance and exit are in different places). So you could simply split off from the group and continue on your own to leave earlier, just tell your guide when you have to go. :-)Regards, Heather

  • Hey! This was so helpful! I want to see the catacombs desperatly but i only have two hours. Guided tours are 3 hours long but the website says differe t. How long can it take to go through the cataombs?

  • Seeking confirmation/clarification, and Quick question – so we book tickets on the museum site http://b12-gat.apps.paris.fr/Offres.aspx, for date and time. Confirmation, we book the skeleton story? Also we have 2 adults and 2×17 year olds, it says they are free if under 18, but how do I book tickets for them? There is a comment of: T. Young Cup file without audioguide 4-17 years included, is this what I click for my teens?TIALinda

  • I created an account and although I was able to translate to English, I somehow ended up purchasing under "group". They had me elect myself the leader of the group and they charged me 30 per person in the group as well as a 30 group charge. What does this mean? Will we still have access to the audiobooks? Will we get skip the line priority???

  • Hi, do you need to get tickets ahead of time to get into the catacombs, or can you just buy them at the place? Do they often sell out for the day, or is it just a really long wait?

  • Hi Oscar, you've got the right ticket. Go to the front of the line about 15 minutes before your scheduled time with your printed ticket voucher. There are indeed only a certain number of people allowed in at once.

  • Luckily, I found this website. I finally purchased my tickets. Yes!!! All the trip advisor tours were sold out for the date I wanted. Just confirming this is for the actual tour inside the Catacombs, correct. My ticket says "Catacombs Skeleton Story". It does mention where to go or meet at my scheduled time. I'm assuming just go to the front of the line. There's plenty of spaces left for the noon and afternoon. Isn't this place limited to a number of people visiting? Please advise.

  • The catacomb website says there is a disturbance and is not currently selling tickets. Does anyone now if this is temporary or are tickets sold out and they're just trying to move folks around to accommodate the situation.

  • Hi, I've just purchased my tickets through the official website with the help of google translator. On the ticket it says in french 'attention vous ne pourrez plus rentrer 30 min apres le debut' which translates to 'be careful you will not be able to return 30 minutes after the start'What exactly does that mean? I've booked the 1400-1600 timeslot.

  • Hi, I got my ticket using the website above. I did have to keep using the translator to read what it said in English. I think I did the same when I got the email so I had a way of printing the ticket. So, my ticket says 4:00pm – 6:00pm. Does this mean I can go anytime after 4:00pm or do I need to be there right at 4:00?

  • So I went to the Museum site, I created an account, and the only choice it gave me to book was the Skeleton Story – and tickets were 5 Euros each – the line said children 5-17 included? I didn't purchase because I cannot quite tell if this is the right thing or if I am only purchasing the Audio guide? Any thoughts? Thanks.

  • Hello,Does anyone know a good place to store a bag nearby? It says that it doesn't have a place at the site itself.Thanks!

  • I just want to let you know, I used the whole "french site audio tour" thing in September last year and it worked like a charm! I definitely recommend it to those who want to avoid lines.

  • Hi,Must of the questions here are about whether or not you get to skip the line if you have a purchased a ticket online and have a set entry time.And the answer is – yes! You can simply go to the front of the queue a few minutes before your scheduled entry time. The tombs are not the most organized, so you may have to wave someone down but usually you can just go to the front desk person and show them your entry ticket.And yes, they do email you your entry ticket once you've booked it. But you can also log back into the account you've created with the museum (you create an account when you purchase the tickets) and download them at any time from there.Enjoy!TomasAeon Tours

  • Hi,I noticed there are some updated information but wanted to make sure. The catacombs you can purchase individual tickets in advance now for a specific time slot. If you purchase the tickets in advance will there still be a wait and is there a different queue for ticket holders?Thanks.

  • Hello Jim, When you purchase tickets it's for a specific time, so you don't wait in line, you show up at that time (15 minutes early would be smart). I don't know if they email you a confirmation, but I'm guessing that is how it works. Try and print it off to be sure.

  • Two quick questions. I have created an account with the museum's website (thank you Google translator!). Before purchasing our tickets, however, I'd like to confirm … with pre-purchased tickets, do you get to skip the line when you arrive at the site? AND do they EMAIL you your tickets upon purchase? If you happen to know, please, feel free to email me? Thanks.

  • A few years ago it was fashionable to have parties in the Catacombs, reached by entering through certain manholes but I suppose these are now all locked up. Tis a pity. Or should I call it a boner?Barney Kirchhoff

  • Heather, thought you'd like to know something I inquired about recently at the Catacombs. They no longer want long lines of people waiting, so if the line extends beyond a 20 minute wait, they now hand out coupons with a return time to those waiting in line. You return at that time and will wait less than 20 minutes for entry (similar idea to a Disneyland FastPass). I'm not sure when they began doing this, but I heard about it in December and confirmed with staff when I passed by in January. I should have asked if you can choose your return time, which would be helpful for people trying to fit in multiple venues in a day.