They call Paris the City of Lights, and with good reason. The vibrant capital of France is a beacon of wonder to travelers from across the globe. Whether it’s the arts, food, fashion, architecture or just a certain je ne sais quoi that one feels exploring the city’s ancient streets, there’s nowhere else in the world quite like Paris!

Of course we all know that the brighter the light the darker the shadow that is cast. A 2,000-year-old city that’s seen more than its fair share of good times and bad is sure to have some eerie areas within its boundaries as well as localities associated with tales that have less than happy endings (but are now safe to check out). Paris has plenty to offer tourists hoping to go sightseeing beyond the realm of the ordinary.

Here’s our illuminated guide on what to see in Paris if you have darker interests. Be warned, be aware, and be amazed!

The Catacombs of Paris

What to See in Paris If You Love the Macabre & Mysterious: Catacombs of Paris

The remains of more than six million people are stacked as walls of bones and skulls along a kilometer-and-a-half-long walk 20 meters beneath the streets of modern Paris.

Beyond the Paris Catacombs open to the public, there are more than 3,000 km of underground tunnels heading off from the safe and well maintained route. A sombre and creepy reminder of mortality, this extremely popular attraction is the real deal and not for the faint of heart or unattended children. But if you’re up for it, you’re unlikely to have a more memorable experience while in Paris. Be warned: waiting in line to get in is not for the impatient, so be sure to book tickets in advance if possible. Nearest Metro is Denfert-Rochereau.

Cimetière des Chiens et Autres Animaux Domestiques

Another resting place for the dead worth seeing in Paris is the Cimetière des Chiens et Autres Animaux Domestiques, aka the Cemetery of Dogs and Other Domestic Animals. Thought to be the world’s first zoological necropolis, the cemetery features the graves and memorials of hundreds of dogs and other pets including cats, horses, monkeys, lions, and fish, and even celebrity animals such as Rin Tin Tin. Located on the River Seine just northwest of the city, the closest Metro station is Gabriel Peri.

Pere Lachaise Cemetery

hat to See in Paris If You Love the Macabre & Mysterious: Paris Pere Lachaise cemetry - morning fog

Pere Lachaise is possibly the most famous graveyard in the world. And with permanent residents such as Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde, Frederic Chopin, and Doors lead singer Jim Morrison, it’s easy to see why so many of the living catch flight deals to Paris just to have a look at the final resting places of their heroes. Opened in 1804, the cemetery has more than 300,000 tombs and graves — and plenty of ghost stories to accompany them. To make the most of your meander through expansive, hilly, and beautiful Pere Lachaise, a guided tour is recommended. Nearest Metro is Pere Lachaise.

Le Musée des Vampires

The world’s only vampire museum offers an outing that’s perhaps more quirky than bloodcurdling. But for a bit of weird fun and the opportunity to indulge in your most sinister of romantic vampire fantasies, it’s hard to beat this privately owned museum run by vampirologist Jacques Sirgent. Found down a dark alley in the northwestern outskirts of town, this museum attracts visitors to admire Sirgent’s collection of vampire ephemera and accoutrements, including movie posters and props, all sorts of artwork, and even a mummified cat and 19th century vampire protection kit replete with crossbow! Nearest Metro is Porte des Lilas.

Rue des Chantres

What to See in Paris If You Love the Macabre & Mysterious: the view of the narrow rue de chantres

Set in the heart of Paris on Île de la Cité in the shadow of the Notre Dame cathedral, this narrow, and age-old lane is one of city’s most evocative streets. Rue des Chantres is purportedly one of the most haunted streets in Paris as well. The street is named after the cantors who would singer in the cloisters of Notre Dame. Today, it is said their voices, and those of the ghosts of young children who once played nearby, can be heard echoing through the street. For history buffs, Rue des Chantres offers a glimpse of what pre-Napoleonic Paris might have looked like. Book a ghost tour for a thoroughly chilling and well informed stroll along Rue des Chantres. Nearest Metro is Cité.

Do you know of any other dark and mysterious things to see in Paris? Let us know in the comments! 

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About The Author

Chris Osburn

Chris Osburn is a freelance writer, photographer, consultant, curator, and the driving force behind the long running and award winning blog, tikichris.com. Originally from the American Deep South, Chris has lived and worked all over the world. He's called London home since 2001.