To celebrate Halloween, Airbnb has requisitioned the use of the ossuaries of Paris—the Catacombs, that is—as a sharing-economy accommodation for two, including a private concert, dinner, and breakfast (if the occupants stay that long).
This morose motel cost Airbnb 350,00€, a figure the city will use to help preserve the subterranean cemetery. It’s all free for the contest-winners, though, who will be the sole occupants of the “Entire House/Apt.” listing, if you don’t count the six million people who are already sleeping in the Catacombs. The contest was open to anyone with a heartbeat, excluding Crimeans, North Koreans, and Iranians, among other embargoed countries.
“Bienvenue to the bowels of Paris!” the listing says. “Before bedtime, a storyteller will have you spellbound with fascinating tales from the catacombs, guaranteed to produce nightmares.” It’s a safe wager that anyone who’s gung-ho to sleep in a necropolis is going to need more than spooky stories to give them nightmares. Unless the storyteller will be dressed as a clown. Of all the promises made by Airbnb, the most eyebrow-raising is that their guests will be the only living persons “ever to wake up in the Paris catacombs,” a claim that, besides being almost certainly untrue, belies repeated criticisms that the company does not care about the cities in which it plies its trade. They certainly don’t seem to think critically about the possibility that someone in the last couple millennia.
But that doesn’t mean Airbnb doesn’t care about its customers: the last line of the listing calls on users to “explore other options in and around Paris.”