Philibert Aspairt: death throes in the Catacombs darkness

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Philibert's grave - ©Rémi Villalongue / CC-BY Philibert's grave - ©Rémi Villalongue / CC-BY
Paris catacombs Burial place Tragic destiny

Do you think someone can get lost in the Catacombs? Like in a good old horror film, lost in the dark... This tragic story happened to a chap named Philibert Aspairt: he died in Paris Catacombs, one day of November 1793... We can see his grave here.

We read this in the book Les catacombes de Paris, guide illustré (Pierre-Léonce Imbert, 1867): he was a doorman in the Val-de-Grâce hospital, in Paris, during the French Revolution.

He ventured all alone in the quarries, on November 3th, going down the Mansart staircase (about 30 m long) which links the Val-de-Grâce to the Catacombs. But he never came back. Workers found him 11 years later, in April 1804. Well, when I say found... not him, but his skeleton, of course!

They recognized him thanks to his bunch of keys and his buttons... Hey, do you imagine his last moments in the dark, alone, in a dreadful silence? Fortunately, today, visitors are guided by a black line painted on the vault! In short: they buried Philibert where they found his last remains.


And also!