Airbnb contest winner spends Halloween night in Paris catacombs
Brazilian Pedro Arruda had an unforgettable lodging experience over the weekend as the lucky winner of a Halloween contest sponsored by home-sharing company Airbnb. The prize? A sleepover in the famous Paris catacombs, a labyrinth of subterranean tombs that hold the remains of roughly 6 million people.
— The Associated Press (@AP) November 1, 2015
After submitting an essay explaining why he was brave enough to spend the night 65 feet underground, the 27-year-old and a guest were awarded a double bed in a candle-lit stone chamber, as well dinner, a violin concert and a storyteller to get them in the Halloween spirit.
Arruda, who calls himself a “history nerd,” brought his mother along for company.
Paris officials began transferring bodies to the catacombs — dubbed “the world’s largest grave” — in the late 18th and mid-19th centuries after public cemeteries were closed amid health fears.
Visitors to Paris can tour the catacombs, which comprise more than 200 miles of tunnels and crypts, and experience “a tableau of death with bones arranged in a macabre display of high Romantic taste,” which didn’t appear to worry Arruda.
“I’d be much more scared if they were alive,” Arruda told The Associated Press.