Thieves use Paris catacombs to steal €250,000 worth of wine

Police say the tunnels were used to gain access to an apartment in a wealthy part of the city

Thieves use Paris catacombs to steal €250,000 worth of wine

File photo of Paris catacombs. Picture by: Francois Mori/AP/Press Association Images

€250,000 worth of top-quality wine has been stolen in Paris, with police saying the thieves took advantage of the city's underground catacombs to carry out the heist.

The Local reports that the theft happened on Monday night / early Tuesday morning, with thieves targeting a private apartment in a wealthy area near the city's Luxembourg Gardens.

French media quotes local police as saying the thieves dug into the apartment's cellar wall through the catacombs, before making off with 300 bottles of 'grand cru' (or very high-quality) wine.

The catacombs run for around 250km underneath the streets of Paris, with many having originated as mines or quarries.

The underground corridors & chambers were also used as cemeteries, with officials in the 18th century deciding to move bones from the 'overstuffed' city cemeteries to the then-disused tunnels.

The catacombs still contain the remains of millions of people, with bones and skulls lining the walls of long stretches of the caverns.

Only a small section of the labyrinthine tunnels are publicly accessible during the day, and those caught trespassing elsewhere in the system face fines.

However, explorers and enthusiasts known as 'cataphiles' often access the tunnels through secret or lesser-known entrances (such as manholes).