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It all started with a smell.
In Paris, France, during the 1800s, the people living there were starting to get sick. They could not escape the foul smells coming from the cemeteries. The worst cemetery was Saints-Innocents (the Cemetery of Innocents).
This cemetery was in the heart of the city next to the central market place. It had originally been a Roman cemetery and the city of Paris grew outwards and around it. It was the oldest and biggest cemetery in Paris. People were buried here in mass graves.
Even in the harsh, cold wintertime, you could smell the odor for miles around. In the summertime people caught diseases just by walking past it! To make things worse, the land and water became infected, making Paris’s growing population sicker – and even causing death!
There was a very simple reason for what was causing all of this. The cemeteries were too overcrowded. The bodies could not be buried deep enough.
Find out what was done to solve the problem, and about the mysterious catacombs that are under the streets of Paris today.
Ages 8 and up.
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