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The Montparnasse district

The Montparnasse district is situated on the Left Bank. It goes from the Necker hospital at the corner of rue de Sevres and Bd Montparnasse to the Closerie des Lilas at the corner of Bd Port Royal.

It owes its name “Mont Parnasse” to the students who, after 1725, nicknamed it after an artificial hill made of rubble between Bd du Montparnasse and Boulevard Raspail.

Montparnasse was at its height between the 20s and 50s, when it became the playground for famous painters such as Picasso, Soutine, Modigliani, Dali, Giacometti…. everyone who contributed to the glory of 20th century art.…

La Coupole with its art deco design and 27 columns painted by the artists of the time, and other brasseries such as Le Select, Le Dome and La Rotonde in the Bd Montparnasse, were all frequented by famous people: Cocteau, Aragon, Josephine Baker, Malraux, Prevert, Edith Piaf, etc.

Kiki de Montparnasse, who was the model for Foujita, Modigliani and others and also Man Ray’s mistress, was the district’s muse.

A temple of literature and painting, Montparnasse was also the district of the Breton people who arrived at Gare Montparnasse and opened cafés and “crêperies”…and of course, if you like oysters and buckwheat waffles, you will undoubtedly choose to go there and try them.

If you fancy a pleasant stroll through the district…here’s a recommended route:

Start in rue Campagne Première which crosses the Bd du Montparnasse and Bd Raspail and is still populated by a large number of artists’ workshops. If you’re a fan of the 1920s, you’ll enjoy the authentic facades of the period.

And just nearby, if you fancy a scare, almost on the corner of Bd Raspail and Bd Edgar Quinet, take a walk down Rue Emile Richard, the only street in Paris that has no buildings for 400m…and with good reason, it’s a simple cut-through between the two walls of the Montparnasse cemetery…and if you’re approached by an attacker there’s no possible escape route either left or right …

Before taking a turn in the Jardin du Luxembourg - even if it is famous for being part of the Latin Quarter - go back up Bd du Montparnasse to Bd Port Royal and have lunch at the Closerie des Lilas and you might even find yourself sitting on a bench once occupied by Emile Zola or Théophile Gaultier…and, comfortably installed on the leather seats, surrounded by wood panelling, you can imagine yourself listening to Fitzgerald giving his first reading of “The Great Gatsby” to Hemingway….two regular customers …

Finally, go down rue d’Assas, walking through the Jardins de l’Observatoire to reach the Jardin du Luxembourg which is home to the Senate. 106 statues representing, among many others, Jose Maria de Heredia, Beethoven, Flaubert and Chopin will fill your walk with musical and poetic dreams. The garden designed by Marie de Medici with its different areas - the orangery, pear orchard and large lake - is a haven of peace right in the centre of the Left Bank.

And finally, don’t forget that Montparnasse also welcomed some of the most famous political exiles such as Lenin and Trotsky! Because the Left Bank is much more than a simple bank of the river Seine…it’s the home of free and creative thinking for discerning Parisians!

Enjoy your walk!


Video content: The Montparnasse district

The Montparnasse district is situated on the Left Bank. It goes from the Necker hospital at the corner of rue de Sevres and Bd Montparnasse to the Closerie des Lilas at the corner of Bd Port Royal.

It owes its name “Mont Parnasse” to the students who, after 1725, nicknamed it after an artificial hill made of rubble between Bd du Montparnasse and Boulevard Raspail.

Montparnasse was at its height between the 20s and 50s, when it became the playground for famous painters such as Picasso, Soutine, Modigliani, Dali, Giacometti…. everyone who contributed to the glory of 20th century art.…

La Coupole with its art deco design and 27 columns painted by the artists of the time, and other brasseries such as Le Select, Le Dome and La Rotonde in the Bd Montparnasse, were all frequented by famous people: Cocteau, Aragon, Josephine Baker, Malraux, Prevert, Edith Piaf, etc.

Kiki de Montparnasse, who was the model for Foujita, Modigliani and others and also Man Ray’s mistress, was the district’s muse.

A temple of literature and painting, Montparnasse was also the district of the Breton people who arrived at Gare Montparnasse and opened cafés and “crêperies”…and of course, if you like oysters and buckwheat waffles, you will undoubtedly choose to go there and try them.

If you fancy a pleasant stroll through the district…here’s a recommended route:

Start in rue Campagne Première which crosses the Bd du Montparnasse and Bd Raspail and is still populated by a large number of artists’ workshops. If you’re a fan of the 1920s, you’ll enjoy the authentic facades of the period.

And just nearby, if you fancy a scare, almost on the corner of Bd Raspail and Bd Edgar Quinet, take a walk down Rue Emile Richard, the only street in Paris that has no buildings for 400m…and with good reason, it’s a simple cut-through between the two walls of the Montparnasse cemetery…and if you’re approached by an attacker there’s no possible escape route either left or right …

Before taking a turn in the Jardin du Luxembourg - even if it is famous for being part of the Latin Quarter - go back up Bd du Montparnasse to Bd Port Royal and have lunch at the Closerie des Lilas and you might even find yourself sitting on a bench once occupied by Emile Zola or Théophile Gaultier…and, comfortably installed on the leather seats, surrounded by wood panelling, you can imagine yourself listening to Fitzgerald giving his first reading of “The Great Gatsby” to Hemingway….two regular customers …

Finally, go down rue d’Assas, walking through the Jardins de l’Observatoire to reach the Jardin du Luxembourg which is home to the Senate. 106 statues representing, among many others, Jose Maria de Heredia, Beethoven, Flaubert and Chopin will fill your walk with musical and poetic dreams. The garden designed by Marie de Medici with its different areas - the orangery, pear orchard and large lake - is a haven of peace right in the centre of the Left Bank.

And finally, don’t forget that Montparnasse also welcomed some of the most famous political exiles such as Lenin and Trotsky! Because the Left Bank is much more than a simple bank of the river Seine…it’s the home of free and creative thinking for discerning Parisians!

Enjoy your walk!

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