But it seems the city's decorative order is more than just skin deep.
|Welcome to the Paris Catacombs|
|Walls of neatly stacked bones and skulls|
This is the final resting place for the remains of about six million Parisians that were gradually transferred here from 1780s onwards as the graveyards above were being closed because of public health concerns.
During the French Revolution, which began just a few years after the Paris Catacombs became an ossuary, some Parisians were buried directly in the catacombs.
|The disused quarry tunnels became an underground ossuary in the 1780s|
|With the remains of six million Parisians you are never really alone down here|
The Paris Catacombs is a maze of long, dark and narrow passageways, with a two kilometre section open to the public. Though this can feel slightly longer when strolling along in semi-darkness.
|Walls of femurs with a decorative line of skulls|
Occasionally we pass a locked steel gate, behind which were further tunnels of bones stretching off into the darkness.
Paris is not alone in deploying bones for decoration, with Kutna Hora in the Czech Republic probably taking the gold medal in this category.
But the Paris Catacombs aren't too far behind. Apparently it was a few decades after the first remains were brought here that someone decided to arrange the in bones in a more decorative fashion. It's a striking, if not a little macabre, result.
|More walls of skulls|
|Every bone has its place|
Strangely, it's not the street from which we first entered. Much like when we were in the tunnels below, we have no idea where we are.
We leave the Paris Catacombs a little disturbed and a little lost, but also a little appreciative of Paris' underground beauty.