What to do in Montparnasse
One of the main reasons why Paris is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world is the continuity in its urban planning and architecture. From the early developments during the reign of Henry IV in the 16th century up to the 19th century with the large developments under Haussmann, the Prefect of the Seine from 1853 till 1870, the international architecture had little influence on Paris.Even large influential architectural styles like Baroque, Rococo, Art Nouveau and the Modernist style had very little practical effect on Paris where classicism was seen as the true French style. This started to change after the second World War when the new Gaullist regime of 1958 started to support and even promote the development of towers in the city center.It started as a redevelopment scheme of the Montparnasse and Maine railway stations in 1958 and had strong support from the new government. The tower itself was built between 1969 and 1973. During construction, the tower was very popular as it became a symbol of the new modern Paris. This changed however when the 210 meters tall Tour Montparnasse was completed. Public optinion turned against the tower mainly because it intruded the skyline. Nowadays, the Paris skyscrapers are built on the outskirts of the city, mainly in the Défense area.
Montparnasse, an artistic area
Like its counterpart Montmartre, Montparnasse became famous at the beginning of the 20th century, referred to as les Années Folles (the Crazy Years), when it was the heart of intellectual and artistic life in Paris. From 1910 to the start of World War II, Paris’ artistic circles migrated to Montparnasse, an alternative to the Montmartre district which had been the intellectual breeding ground for the previous generation of artists. The Paris of Zola, Manet, France, Degas, Fauré, a group that had assembled more on the basis of status affinity than actual artistic tastes, indulging in the refinements of Dandyism, was at the opposite end of the economic, social, and political spectrum from the gritty, tough-talking, die-hard, emigrant artists that peopled Montparnasse.
A few of the artists who gathered in Montparnasse were Pablo Picasso, Guillaume Apollinaire, Ossip Zadkine, Carmelo Gonzalez, Julio Gonzalez, Moise Kisling, Jean Cocteau, Erik Satie, Marios Varvoglis,Marc Chagall, Nina Hamnett, Jean Rhys, Fernand Léger, Jacques Lipchitz, Max Jacob, Blaise Cendrars, Chaim Soutine, Michel Kikoine, Pinchus Kremegne, Amedeo Modigliani, Ford Madox Ford, Toño Salazar, Ezra Pound, Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp, Suzanne Duchamp-Crotti, Henri Rousseau, Constantin Brancusi, Paul Fort, Juan Gris, Diego Rivera, Federico Cantú, Angel Zarraga, Marevna, Tsuguharu Foujita, Marie Vassilieff, Léon-Paul Fargue, Alberto Giacometti, René Iché, André Breton, Alfonso Reyes, Pascin, Salvador Dalí, Henry Miller, Samuel Beckett, Emil Cioran ,Reginald Gray, Joan Miró and, in his declining years, Edgar Degas.
Discover Montparnasse :
Built on top of the Montparnasse – Bienvenüe Paris Métro station, the 59 floors of the tower are mainly occupied by offices. The 56th floor, with a restaurant, and the terrace on the top floor, are open to the public for viewing the city. The view covers a radius of 40 kilometres (25 mi); aircraft can be seen taking off from Orly Airport. The guard rail, to which various antennae are attached, can be pneumatically lowered in just two minutes to allow helicopters to land. At the time of construction, it was the tallest building in Europe by roof height. The construction of La Grande Arche in La Défense places the tower in a second line of perspective across Paris.
(French: Cimetière du Montparnasse) is a famous cemetery in the Montparnasse quarter of Paris, part of the city’s 14th arrondissement.
Created from three farms in 1824, the cemetery at Montparnasse was originally known as Le Cimetière du Sud. Cemeteries had been banned from Paris since the closure, owing to health concerns, of the Cimetière des Innocents in 1786. Several new cemeteries outside the precincts of the capital replaced all the internal Parisian ones in the early 19th century: Montmartre Cemetery in the north, Père Lachaise Cemetery in the east, and Montparnasse Cemetery in the south. At the heart of the city, and today sitting in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, is Passy Cemetery.
Montparnasse Cemetery is the eternal home of many of France’s intellectual and artistic elite as well as publishers and others who promoted the works of authors and artists. There are also monuments to police and firefighters killed in the line of duty in the city of Paris.
Because of the many notable people buried there (e.g : Serge Gainsbourg) , it is a highly popular tourist attraction.
The Catacombs of Paris or Catacombes de Paris are a famous underground ossuary in Paris, France. Located south of the former city gate, the “Barrière d’Enfer”, at today’s Place Denfert-Rochereau), the ossuary holds the remains of about 6 million people and fills a renovated section of caverns and tunnels that are the remains of Paris’ stone mines. Opened in the late 18th century, the underground cemetery became a tourist attraction on a small scale from the early 19th century, and has been open to the public on a regular basis from 1867. Following an incident of vandalism, they were closed to the public in September 2009 and reopened 19 December of the same year. The official name for the catacombs is l’Ossuaire Municipal. Although this cemetery covers only a small section of underground tunnels comprising “les carrières de Paris” (“the quarries of Paris”), Parisians today often refer to the entire tunnel network as “the catacombs”.
There are much more things to discover in Montparnasse… Read more here : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montparnasse
Need a hotel in Montparnasse?
Hotel du Parc
“The Hotel du Parc lies in the heart of a safe and enchanting district (the district of creperies and typical restaurants), with museums and “Left Bank” shops. The metro and bus lines can be found at the corner of the street.” The small square is removed from the traffic and sound pollution, it’s a lovely area right next to the train station.
Hotel Sophie Germain
“The Hotel Sophie Germain is situated in the 14th district of Paris, near Denfert-Rochereau and a street perfect for Super Markets called Daguerre. Denfert-Rochereau Place is a central point in Paris and very close to Montparnasse train station. It gives access to tradeshows of Villepinte by RER B (35min) and the Porte de Versailles (15 min). To end with, you are just quite near the center of Paris.”