Paris catacombs
A gang of burglars made their way through the Parisian Catacombs to steal 300 bottles of vintage wine GettyImages/PatrickKovarik

A gang of thieves managed to empty the Parisian cellar of a private residence of 300 of its finest wine bottles in the night between Monday and Tuesday (28/29 August).

The gang successfully pierced a hole in one of the walls of the private cellar, reports France Bleu. The flat was located in a fashionable Paris neighbourhood, near the Jardin du Luxembourg and the French Senate. Their loot amounts to €250,000 (£231,000) in fine wine and the thieves still remain at large.

To complete their heist, they used a secret pathway in the Paris Catacombs. A police source analysing the audacious theft speculated: "We believe they must have made visits before; the suspects didn't drill that particular wall by accident."

The 3rd District of the Parisian Criminal investigation department is in charge of the case and have so far refused to comment on the heist.

The real-life artful dodgers managed to navigate the intricate maze that make up the Paris Catacombs.
The one mile-long pathway tourists can visit is but one tiny fraction of the labyrinth. About 150 miles of dark corridors, dead ends and possible pits await thrill seekers who dare to explore the former communal cemetery.

The Catacombs were once mines but at the end of the 18th century, they were converted into ossuaries to curb the overflow of bodies in the city's cemeteries. That is why in addition to their confusing structure and lack of light, the Catacombs are home to between six and seven millions of human remains.

Skulls and rib cages lay along its walls. Apart from the path that is actually accessible to the public, the rest of the Catacombs are restricted. Whoever braves the interdiction risks a fine of €135 (£125). There are also legends about people dying in the Catacombs after explorations went wrong and of cults holding black masses in the ossuary.

However sinister that may sound, many Parisians known as 'Cataphiles' like to brave the maze and enter the Catacombs at night. Some have organised parties or even film screenings. A special branch of the police force, called the 'Cataflics' or Catacops,' deal with the intruders.

In June 2017, two teenagers were found safe after spending three days trapped in the Catacombs. The Quarries General Inspector, Julien Alaterre noted that the people who visit the Catacombs are "usually well equipped regulars".