Some people like their Airbnb host to be friendly and welcoming. Others prefer one that points them to the bathroom and then gets out of the way. And still others would like six million Airbnb hosts who are all dead.
If you fall into the last category, you’re in luck, because Airbnb is offering up the gothest date night ever: dinner for two, a private concert, and a cozy evening tucked away under Paris with millions of skeletons. The Paris catacombs, opened in the late 18th century to handle the overflow from the city’s crowded cemeteries, are lined with stacked skulls and femurs; originally part of a network of quarry tunnels, these ossuaries now represent a veritable “Empire of the Dead” (as declared on the sign over the entrance). Over 500,000 tourists visit every year, but none of them get to sleep over. Until now.
Airbnb is offering couples (or friends willing to share a bed) the opportunity to submit a 100-word essay on the topic of “why you think you have the courage to sleep in the catacombs of Paris.” The best entry wins an unforgettable and possibly slightly uncomfortable Halloween night. (The catacombs are deep underground and it’s chilly, plus, of course, all those skeletons will be staring at you.) Entry rules stipulate that pets are not allowed, but ”there will already be a monster under your bed.” You are also reminded to bring your toothbrush and pajamas, “especially if they glow in the dark.”
Some members of the city council oppose the competition, considering it disrespectful to the dead. But this is hardly the first time the Paris catacombs have been host to something besides sober contemplation. In 2004, Parisian police exploring an area normally off-limits to tourists found a stocked bar and restaurant and a fully functional movie theater.
Sadly, those are no longer available to serve this Halloween’s overnight guests, but those who stay will get a meal, a concert, and a spooky bedtime story—and breakfast, if they survive the night.
Every day, we track down a fleeting wonder—something amazing that’s only happening right now. Have a tip for us? Tell us about it! Send your temporary miracles to firstname.lastname@example.org.