The City of Light has seen a lot in its 2000-year history. From plagues to uprisings to cultural movements, literal history has passed through Paris's roads, buildings, and generations of residents. With so much going on, it's no wonder the city has its fair share of ghost stories. Some haunted Paris locations come as no surprise, such as the city's bone-filled catacombs and Père Lachaise Cemetery, where some of the city's most famous residents - including Frédéric Chopin, Jim Morrison, and Marcel Proust - reside in eternal slumber. However, other eerie locales are less obvious - places like Notre Dame Cathedral, Parc Montsouris, and the Palace of Versailles each have their own unique specters with dark tales behind them.
If you're traveling through Europe and you're up for a little ghost hunting, there are plenty of haunted places in Paris that are easy to visit. Many of the most haunted spots even offer guided ghost tours. Hopefully, you'll have some convincing ghost stories from Paris when you return from your travels!
At the turn of the 20th century, Paris was plagued by tuberculosis and other diseases. When the hospitals reached capacity, apartments around the city served as makeshift overflow wards. One narrow street in the shadow of Notre Dame, Rue des Chantres, was home to an apartment that housed quarantined children.
During the day, the kids were allowed to play freely in the sunshine; at night, they were locked inside a ground-floor apartment as a safety measure. During a terrible storm one night, the Seine rose several feet and the children were drowned in their beds. Locals say you can still hear the kids laughing and screaming from the street as you walk by.
In 1925, a young medical student, Jean Romier, struck up a conversation with an older gentleman named Alphonse Berruyer on a park bench in the Jardin du Luxembourg. During their chat, Berruyer professed his passion for Mozart and invited Romier to his home for a chamber concert.
Romier accepted the invitation and went to the address on the day of concert. He was greeted by Berruyer, who introduced the young man to his family, the musicians, and other concertgoers. He stayed for the duration and enjoyed the show. After leaving, he quickly realized he had forgotten his lighter and turned around. He knocked on the door, but no one answered. A neighbor informed him the place had been vacant since its music-loving occupant had passed 15 years before.
The Tuileries Garden is home to the former Tuileries Palace, which burned to the ground in 1871. Sightings of a man dressed in red have been documented on palace grounds as far back as the 16th century. Many of those who saw him allegedly passed soon after, including Marie Antionette, Henry IV, and King Louis XVI. Napoleon also allegedly interacted with him regularly, seeking military advice from the specter.
The spirit's origins are unknown, but many believe the ghost is connected to Catherine de' Medici. The wife of Henry II contracted a man to take out her enemies. However, the assassin knew too many of her secrets, and he met his end in the Tuileries Garden. From then on, the man's soul continued to haunt the area. After the palace burned down, the man in red was never seen again.
Of course a place that contains the bones of six million people is haunted. In the late 18th century, burials were banned in Paris for health reasons. King Louis XVI ordered the construction of catacombs beneath the city, and human remains from the city's overflowing graveyards were transferred to the underground site. It took 12 years to move all the bodies below ground. The city stopped transferring bones in 1860, but the ghosts remain, and visitors claim to have seen orbs and heard voices while exploring the area.
Philibert Aspairt may be one such ghost haunting the catacombs. In 1793, he allegedly went down into the tunnels in hopes of breaking into a brewery and never returned. He lost his light source and never found his way out. His body was discovered over 11 years later.