Creepy Travels – An Underground Walk amongst Skulls and Bones

Even without giving away the name of the location, I guess you know what touristic hotspot I am talking about. Indeed, the Paris Catacombs! It has been the subject of intriguing documentaries and horror movies (like the not so great As Above, So Below). Moreover, look for the catacombs on YouTube, and you will see that everybody involved in urbex has explored them and made a video of their adventure.

I’m not going to lie, so did we…

Some facts and numbers:

  • Established in 1810.
  • Contains the remains of more than 6 million people.
  • Location: Place Denfert-Rochereau.
  • About 480.000 yearly visitors.
  • During World War II, members of the French Resistance took refuge here. On the other hand, the Nazis built a bunker there as well.
  • As Above, So Below received permission from the French government to film in the catacombs and was the first to do so.

Our Video

Check it out on our YouTube channel. And while you’re there, give us a like and subscribe!

And the Pictures?

Well, they are gone…

I have one external hard disk with all my pictures from 2009 until 2015 included and another one with all the pictures I took in 2016. The latter didn’t survive the move from Belgium to Spain…

Anyway, the place looks like this…

Photo by Felipe Hueb on

Some practical information:

  • The best way to move around in Paris is by taking public transport. It’s also the easiest, cheapest, and fastest way to go to the Catacombs. Get on metro lines 4 or 6, direction Denfert-Rochereau or use the RER, line B.
  • The best way to avoid the crowds is NOT by coming early in the morning. Sounds contradictory, but believe us! Come in the beginning or middle of the afternoon. You could of course pay to skip the line, but it is not worth its money… A guided tour can be interesting but is the most expensive option for a visit.
  • Have a look at their official website, in case you want more historical information.

And What About This?

You decide to spice up your life and visit the Catacombs the illegal way. We hate to disappoint you, but then there is a pretty good chance that you end up like this guy…

Coming on the website next week… Good news, I have just finished editing the video for the second part of our series about the Sierra de Huétor! Furthermore, we will show you a beautiful religious location somewhere in Poland. And our favorite place in Bruges!

What about you? Have you visited the Catacombs in Paris? If not, would you consider doing so? And for those who have been there: did you experience anything out of the ordinary or even paranormal? Let us know in the comments!


The Beginner’s Guide to the Destroyed Villages in France

Another week, and a new destination, because today we take you to France. But instead of the good old Eiffel Tower or another touristic highlight, we take you to a lesser-known corner of the country. Today, we are in the département of the Meuse, at the Villages Détruits (Destroyed Villages). But what exactly are these?

During the First World War, specifically at the time of the Battle of Verdun in 1916, many villages in northern France were destroyed by the fighting. After the war, it was decided that the land previously occupied by the destroyed villages would not be incorporated into other communes, as a testament to these villages which had “died for France”, as they were declared, and to preserve their memory. While three of the villages in Meuse were subsequently rebuilt and are governed as normal communes, the other six are entirely unpopulated and are managed by a council of three members, appointed by the prefect of Meuse. (Source: Wikipedia)

The other departments in France with destroyed villages (from World War I) are Marne, Meurthe-et-Moselle, and Aisne.

Back to the department of the Meuse. Lars and I were staying in Metz at the time, not too far from the villages:

The weather and the landscape at the beginning of our journey already predicted a sad journey.

Some remnants of the war greeted us just before we arrived at the first village.


Before the war, about 420 people called this village their home. It was recaptured between the French and the Germans 16 times before the latter finally annihilated it. Because of the explosives and the poisonous gas used, nothing could be rebuilt afterward.

All that is left, are these markers… The holes that are spread all over are where the bombs hit the ground.

Tranchée des Baïonnettes

Not another village, but a different kind of reminder of World War I.

On 12 June 1916, two companies of the 137th Infantry Regiment of the French army were sheltered in their tranchées (trenches), baïonnettes (bayonets) fixed, waiting for a ferocious artillery bombardment to end. It never did – the incoming shells covered their positions with mud and debris, burying them alive. They were found three years later, when someone spotted several hundred bayonet tips sticking out of the ground. (Lonely Planet)


This village was partially reconstructed after the war. Markers indicate where the locals used to live.


This is the new village… Less than 100 people call this their home.

There is only a memorial for the former village, which is a short distance away. We couldn’t get any closer to it, because there was so much mud and neither of us was properly dressed.


This village underwent the same fate as Fleury-devant-Douamont. All that is left today are bits and pieces of everyday life. Can you imagine the devastation, looking at the impact those bombs made? About 150 people were killed.


Although a few residents still remain, Ornes too has never been rebuilt, mainly because of the gas and the explosives. Here 700 people died during the war.


And another village that died for France. This one too has never been rebuilt. About 200 inhabitants perished.

As you can see, we were not able to visit all the villages. After Cumières, the sun started to go down and we had to return to Metz. And for the day afterward, we had already made other plans.

Anyway, here are all the other villages that we visited that day on one map.

Wednesday we are back, in another corner of Europe.

Exploring Movie Locations – Haunted Fortress Adventures (Colour)

For all the background information, have a look at this post. There you will learn more about the movie they made on this location, the book it was based on and the history of the building itself. Read that post first or one of this will make any sense.

Summer 2012: our first visit to this location in Sint-Katelijne-Waver. I started taking pictures at the entrance of the fortress and was struck by the beauty of the decay of the building. Important remark: at that moment, none us – writer Vanessa Morgan, Lars and I – knew anything about the history of the fortress.

Our attention then turned towards the holiday cottage where the movie took place. This is the first spot where I noticed something unusual. For your information: when I shot this picture, the sun was behind me and my lens was spotless… I converted this picture to B&W and upped the contrast a bit.

Can you see it?

We kept walking around the domain, looking at the other holiday cottages. Most of them were in bad shape, but the owners still came here or were even there at the moment of our visit. Somehow the derelict state of all the buildings gave this whole domain an odd vibe…

Initially, we had no plans to visit the fortress itself, but it was like we were somehow drawn to it. A handful of white peacocks observed us closely while we walked towards the entrance.

Ominous, don’t you think so? Neither Vanessa nor Lars had the courage to go inside first, so… they simply pushed me through the entrance. Everything was pitch-black… When my eyes had become used to the darkness, I could see that the whole ground floor was covered with garbage. It was piled up so high that no light could actually come in.

After groping around in the darkness and a lot of giggling when we bumped into each other, the three of us finally made our way to the first floor. There we could finally start photographing.

During our whole visit to this location, I couldn’t shake off an eerie feeling… I wasn’t at ease, especially during our time in the fortress itself. But I really creeped out when I started to edit the pictures at home.

A peculiar detail had struck the three of us when we were on the first floor of the fortress. In every room there was at least one chair; all of them were surrounded by candles. Now, have a close look again at the pictures above and you will see that all or some of the candles are gone… Or are my eyes really deceiving me? Strange isn’t it, because usually on pictures taken in haunted places, things appear. Here, things disappeared

We have been to other places – in all Europe – to do some urban exploring, but this is still one of my big favourites. I will never forget that special vibe, in and around that fortress.

Next week, we will take you to other corners in Europe. I have already two posts planned, one about food adventures in Estonia and another about a historic location in Albania. During this weekend, I will also publish the 4th part of my Lockdown Diary.

The Ultimate Guide to the Most Beautiful Crypt in Brussels


I know that I had planned a completely different post for today, but due to unforeseen circumstances, I have to postpone this to next week. Instead, let’s return to Belgium!

Today we will have a look at one of the most beautiful crypts in Belgium, the Laeken Cemetery Crypt. This is not to be confused with the Royal Crypt of Belgium, which you can find underneath the nearby Church of Our Lady of Laeken; as the name suggests, this is the burial place of the Belgian Royals. The Laeken Cemetery Crypt, on the other hand, stretches out under Laeken Cemetery itself, which is one of the oldest and most beautiful cemeteries in Belgium. Many famous Belgians are buried here and the cemetery is also known for its magnificent tombs and works of art.

Where Exactly?

Laeken Cemetery is located in Laeken, a municipality to the north of Brussels. It is the home of the Royal Castle (not to be confused with the Royal Palace in the Belgian capital itself) and the Royal Greenhouses.

When you enter the cemetery, just follow the main path until you can go no further and then turn left. You will see this building:

Just take the stairs downstairs.

There are three tunnels in the crypt, similar to the main paths in the cemetery above. They were constructed at the end of the 19th century. The most recent burials date from 1978, when the crypt had already been neglected for a long time. Due to liquifying coffins and exploding caskets, the place was a nasty state. More than 30 years later, the local government restored the crypt and in 2017 it was open again to the general public.

Although the crypt is in a lot better state now -most of the mold and the rust are gone, walking around in the many galleries still gives you an eerie feeling.

The Cemetery Itself

…is also worth a visit.

Practical Information

The address: Leopold I-straat, 66, 1020 Laeken.

The cemetery is open every day, from 8.30 am to 4 pm.

At the entrance you can park your car. There is also a metro nearby (stop: Bockstael) and trams 62 and 93 pass in the neighbourhood as well.

Exploring Movie Locations – Haunted Fortress Adventures (B&W)

The movie location of today is quite a unique place. Not only has a movie been made here, but it is also part of our urbex project, Creepy Travels and finally, it’s not open to the public. Horror writer and blogger Vanessa Morgan, Lars and I had permission though to visit the place and photograph it (thanks, Vanessa!).

The Strangers Outside

Let’s have a look at the movie first and especially the book on which it’s based. Both have the same title and our good friend Vanessa Morgan is the writer. As it says on Amazon,

Two families return to their remote holiday cabin after a day at the seaside. But little do they know they’re being surrounded. Shortly after their arrival, they will come face to face with THE STRANGERS OUTSIDE. When the assailants make their intentions known, things take a shockingly terrible turn, and an intense battle for survival will begin.

I would really spoil the fun if I gave you any more details… Anyway, The Strangers Outside started as a short story, but later Vanessa reworked it into a novel. In 2011, it was turned into a movie with Pierre Lekeu, Iulia Alexandra Nastase and Avalon (Vanessa’s cat). Check this out:

Alex Corbi’s song Avalon features some images of the movie. Philippe Geus, by the way, was the director of The Strangers Outside.

The Location

The movie was made in various locations in Belgium, but for the creepiest part of The Strangers Outside, the crew went to Sint-Katelijne-Waver, a small town between Brussels and Antwerp.

The Exterior

Filming took place around and inside a fortress in Sint-Katelijne-Waver, called Schans Dorpveld. It was built just before World War I; because of its strategic location, the goal was to prevent the Germans from invading Antwerp after Brussels. Unfortunately, the plan failed.

This was actually our second visit to Sint-Katelijne-Waver. During the first one, I was impressed by the creepy vibe of the building. The whole location, however, oozes a peculiar atmosphere; holiday cottages, which have surely seen better times, surround the fortress, where about a century ago soldiers died. Moreover, a couple of strange events occurred during that first visit… If you want to know what exactly, you have to wait until I publish the color pictures I took then.

Anyway, the three of us were very eager to return and we did so in the summer of 2017. This time I planned to edit all my pictures in black and white and Lars and I also wanted to make a video of our visit. That last part didn’t work out at all, however… I don’t think that any paranormal forces are to blame for this; a GoPro is known to function badly in low light conditions and inside the fortress, it’s quite dark.

But we had hardly arrived when my camera started to malfunction. Strange, because I had checked all settings twice before I started shooting. I checked them again but to no avail. To this day, I have no idea what happened to my camera… Anyway, I cannot offer pictures of the usual quality for this post; on the other hand, they do have a spooky atmosphere.

The Interior

During our first visit, the ground floor was completely covered with garbage. Most of it had been cleared by the summer of 2017, whereas the second floor, on the other hand, looked pretty much the same. And we even discovered rooms we had missed the time before. My camera was still malfunctioning, by the way.

I have noticed that lately, I have been posting a lot about Belgium, but we have visited a lot of other countries as well! So, expect a lot more variety in destinations from now on.

In the Company of Rats – The Sewer Museum

Want to see Brussels from a (literally) completely different angle? And you are not afraid of occasionally running into a rat? Then why don’t you pay a visit to the Sewer Museum and learn everything about the history and infrastructure of the sewage system of the Belgian capital!

Brussels has actually had a sewage system since the 17th century. But in the beginning it was far from perfect; the network was incomplete and inhabitants of the city kept on throwing garbage into the river Senne. As you can imagine, this led to a lot of pollution and in the 19th century drastic measures had to be taken: the vaulting of the Senne in the centre of Brussels. This explains why you can’t see any river (anymore) in the heart of the Belgian capital.

The museum also pays a lot of attention to the infrastructure of the sewers in Brussels. Building this system must not have been an easy task, given the presence of traffic tunnels and the metro and pre-metro system. In the 19th century, the sewer network was about 45 kilometres long, nowadays it’s more than 350 kilometres! In the museum, you can also learn everything about the installations such as the pumps, pumping stations, siphons and so on.

The Sewer Museum is not located in the heart of Brussels. The exact address is:

Pavilions d’Octroi – Porte d’Anderlecht
1000 Brussels

You can come here by public transport: take tram 51 or 82 or bus 46 and get off at the stop Porte d’Anderlecht. You can also come by car, of course, because there is parking space in the area. Just a word of warning: this is not exactly the fanciest neighbourhood of Brussels, so be really careful with your valuables. Anyway, at your arrival at the Porte d’Anderlecht, you will see 2 pavilions: one is the entrance and the other one is the exit of the museum. Finally, if you want to know all about the entrance fees, the guided tours, activities for children and the like, better check the official website of the Sewer Museum.

The part of the museum that I liked the most was the small fraction of the sewer system that you can visit. It’s like being in a completely different world. The personnel in the museum is very friendly and most of them know French, Dutch and English. Another fun part of the Sewer Museum is the gift shop; don’t hurry or you will miss the hilarious collection of rat dolls. All in all, my visit to this museum was a very pleasant one. Moreover, according to some other visitors, the Sewer Museum in Brussels is more interesting and more fun than the one in Paris.

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