Human remains of millions of Parisians lie 135 feet underground at the Paris Catacombs (Les Catacombes). The 14th arrondissement attraction doesn't appeal to all, but for those who are interested, here’s how to make the most of this subterranean experience.
Chateau de Pierrefonds
Rue Viollet le Duc, Pierrefonds, France
First built by the Duke of Orléans in the late 14th century, the original Château de Pierrefonds was later seized by troops and partially demolished. Its picturesque ruins were fashionable for a time, but Napoleon III had it rebuilt in 1857. Though the palace that stands now—considered one of architect Viollet-le-Duc’s greatest achievements—bears little resemblance to the original, it is celebrated for its innovation and grandiosity. A National Historic Monument since the mid-19th century, Château de Pierrefonds stands against the backdrop of the Compiègne Forest, and its sprawling grounds are nearly as impressive as its domineering scale and opulent architectural stylings.
The Château de Pierrefonds is included in the hop-on hop-off Paris Pass bus tour that includes more than 60 other attractions. You can also prepurchase skip-the-line admission online in advance of your visit.
Things to Know Before You Go
Guided, 1-hour tours of the site are held regularly, though they are given exclusively in French.
The château offers limited access to wheelchair users; only the guard room and presentation film have step-free access.
A gift store/bookshop and toilets are among the amenities included on-site.
How to Get There
To reach the Château de Pierrefonds via public transportation, take SNCF services from Gare du Nord to Compiègne station, after which it’s a roughly 20-minute journey by taxi. If you’re traveling by car from central Paris, travel via the A1 or N2.
When to Get There
The Château de Pierrefonds is open daily. From September to April, the hours are 10am to 5:30pm. From May to early September, it is open from 9:30am to 6pm. The castle is closed annually on January 1, May 1, and December 25.
The Château de Pierrefonds in Pop Culture
Given its appearance, it’s hardly a surprise that the Château de Pierrefonds has starred in numerous films and television shows, including Merlin, The Man in the Iron Mask, and Versailles.
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