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Listen&Learn: Paris Catacombs

Posted by: Jaksyn Peacock
Learn about the famous tunnels underneath Paris
Paris Catacombs

Pre-listening vocabulary

  • cemetery: a section of land where dead people are buried
  • unsanitary: unclean; likely to spread disease
  • execute: to kill someone as punishment for a crime
  • tour: a guided trip to a place
  • illegal: against the law
  • bar: a place that serves alcohol

Listening activity

Gapfill exercise

Underneath the city of Paris, there are about 300 kilometres of underground tunnels that house the dead. The of over 6 million people rest in these catacombs. In the late 1700s, Paris cemeteries were crowded and unsanitary, and they made people . The catacombs were the to this problem. Later, during the French Revolution, the catacombs became a place to bury political prisoners after they were executed. The catacombs have been for tours since 1809, but these tours only cover about 2 kilometres. It is illegal to enter and explore from anywhere else. Despite this, a community of people called “cataphiles” enter without permission to make art, host , and watch movies. Police have even discovered an underground bar.

Comprehension questions

See answers below

  1. The original purpose of the catacombs was
    a. to bury political prisoners during the French Revolution
    b. to clean up overcrowded cemeteries
    c. to bring more tourists to Paris
  2. The catacombs have been open for tours since the early
    a. 1700s
    b. 1800s
    c. 1900s
  3. A “cataphile” is someone who
    a. polices the catacombs
    b. tours the catacombs
    c. enters the catacombs illegally

Discussion/essay questions

  1. Different cultures have different traditions for honouring the dead. What are some of these traditions in your culture?
  2. Do you believe in ghosts? Why or why not?

Transcript

Underneath the city of Paris, there are about 300 kilometres of underground tunnels that house the dead. The bones of over 6 million people rest in these catacombs. In the late 1700s, Paris cemeteries were crowded and unsanitary, and they made people sick. The catacombs were the solution to this problem. Later, during the French Revolution, the catacombs became a place to bury political prisoners after they were executed. The catacombs have been open for tours since 1809, but these tours only cover about 2 kilometres. It is illegal to enter and explore from anywhere else. Despite this, a community of people called “cataphiles” enter without permission to make art, host parties, and watch movies. Police have even discovered an underground bar.

Answers to comprehension questions

1b 2b 3c

Written and recorded by Jaksyn Peacock for EnglishClub
© EnglishClub.com

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