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For a city with such ghoulish stories and a haunted history, there are extremely few of what would qualify as haunted Paris tours.
Now remember, this is the city where the French Revolution's Terror was at its worst (check out French Revolution tours here), where decapitations were a daily event, where cemeteries overflowed so badly that bodies often had to be moved... and where a phantom is still said to haunt the nether regions of the opera house.
No time to read everything? Here's what I've picked for you:
Cemeteries, former public execution squares, catacombs, demons, famous ghosts – there's no lack of ghoulish things to see here.
In fact, there's even a book (in French only, sadly, called Guide de Paris Mystérieux, or Guide to Mysterious Paris) that documents the city's strange legends and unbelievable happenings. The book is more than 700 pages long, with typeface so dense it requires a magnifying glass to read.
This tells you just how much there is to say about the dark side of Paris.
And yet, finding good haunted or ghost tours in Paris was not an easy task.
It's time to delve into the macabre, the secret, even the scary side of Paris.
Yes, you will experience a few chills, especially if your imagination is fertile, but I promise you that when you hear the story of some of the most famous sites in Paris, you'll never look at them the same way again.
Here are my top five ghost city tours picks.
This is one of the most popular ghost tours in Paris, and most highly rated.
You'll learn about the French Revolution and see where monarchs (and revolutionaries) were guillotined. You'll learn all about the ghosts and demons of Notre-Dame Cathedral.
And that's just in the first few minutes.
You'll also find out about the secret Templars (still rumored to have buried a massive treasure somewhere near), the (real) phantom of the opera and other famous Parisian ghosts, France's "evil queen", curses, mysterious deaths and, of course, a vampire story. You certainly won't lack haunted places in Paris.
Your tour will start on the Ile de la Cité, take you to the Conciergerie (the prison which housed Marie-Antoinette until her execution), and end in the Latin Quarter, rain or shine.
The Paris Catacombs, possibly the venue considered the most haunted in Paris. After all, the bones of millions of Parisians line its tunnels, and if that's not spooky, I don't know what is.
The tunnels of the Catacombs are labyrinthine, and while you can't really get lost if you follow the directions, part of the magic lies a bit off the beaten path, behind gated sections which most people don't get to see but which are included in this tour.
The guides on this skip-the-line and speciall access tour all have a reputation for being extremely knowledgeable, so brace yourself for some very spooky – and true – tales. Like the man who wandered down and never came back... or the video camera that kept recording on its own...
A few words of warning though: there are more than 100 steps to go down to reach the Catacombs and yes, you'll have to climb back up them at the end of the tour. Not suitable for wheelchairs or people who suffer from claustrophobia or visibly pregnant women.
The iconic Père Lachaise cemetery is home to the rich and famous, or simply famous, including both French and foreign celebrities. You can spend hours wandering around on your own with a map and spot the graves, but you'll want to return with a knowledgeable guide who can tell you the tales behind the most "haunted" graves. That's the point of ghost walking tours.
While it is a cemetery and some decorum is required, this is also a historical repository and an architectural trove, with graves in many styles, evoking the evolution of Parisian architecture throughout the centuries (the oldest dating back to the 12th century!)
From Colette to Oscar Wilde, from Edith Piaf to Jim Morrison, these graves, mausoleums or burial chambers all have a story to tell.
Beware that these tours are not suitable for children under 13. If you have your kids with you, consider taking private tour #4 below. You can correspond with the tour guide and agree on the tone before you go.
Paris has had its share of crime throughout the centuries, some of them quite gruesome, from the gory massacres of Roman Lutetia to the horrors of the Nazi occupation to the rat cellar boutique seen in the film Ratatouille, you'll uncover the city's best-kept secrets. This is one of the best ghost tours to explore the city's darkest history.
You'll see where the last leader of the Knights Templar was burned (alive) at the stake, and gaze at the bell which rang the beginning of one of France's darkest historical moments, the St Bartholomew's Day massacre.
Along your walk, you'll pass the spot where a beloved king was assassinated (and why), and see the gate through which Marie-Antoinette was led out of prison into the cart that would take her to her beheading.
Paris, the heart of France, has often been the site of tumult and unrest and violence, which has left its mark in the city's psyche and especially in its legends.
This doesn't even list half the sites you'll be visiting on this tour but we need to leave something for you to discover!
This haunted Paris tour has actually not taken place yet, but the reasons I include are twofold: first, I like the name, and second, it is run by a guide who gets the highest ratings on her other tours, so I suspect she will do an equally stellar job here.
What caught my eye on this tour is that part of it explores spots the others do not, like the Place des Vosges, the Rue de Rivoli and Les Halles.
I'm afraid I can't tell you any more about it but I invite you to read the description and contact the tour guide with your questions. This might be the 'one' for you!
Here are a few additional tours that I've come across: they're well rated but I'm not personally familiar with them so I'm listing them here for your information in case you'd like to delve deeper.
And with that, I bid you a shiver-filled wander around the haunted places in Paris and I'm confident a view of a "different" Paris will only serve to enhance your understanding of the city.
These stories only scratch the surface, and it's no wonder they've become part of Paris sightseeing lore.
Ghost tours are both interesting and fun, perfect for a few hours of entertainment to break the routine.
Whether you're here to admire the great Impressionists or attend the 2024 Paris Olympics, a ghoulish and ghostly tour is perfect if you're looking for something different.
Paris has a long history. Over the centuries, it has seen it all, from war to love to otherworldly events, all of which have made it the city it is today. So looking for scary or creepy things to do in Paris plays perfectly into the city's eclectic character, sending us off on unexpected pathways of discovery.
Who knows what might appear around the corner?