In the 18th century, students began reciting open air poems like the Greeks they admired. They named the hill where they gathered Mount Parnassus…. and voila, Montparnasse was born. This area has one of the grander boulevards of Paris, Boulevard Montparnasse, and also has the dubious honor of having Paris’s lone, reviled high rise, the Tour Montparnasse. The view of Paris from the observation deck is undeniably phenomenal, however.
Montparnasse was the favored neighborhood of artistic luminaries from Picasso to Hemingway, Chagall to Cocteau, until construction of the giant rail station meant blocks and blocks of cheap lodging was wiped away. Still, old school cafe life can be found at Le Dôme and La Coupole. Affordable crepe restaurants and stands are all over the area. This humble meal of Bretons took root since Montparnasse is where work-seekers from the region arrived in Paris in the 1930’s.
The area is neither fancy nor struggling, and is a haven for families that live and work in Paris. As such it’s a good destination for tourists looking for safe and decently-priced lodging.
It may be jarring to the eye amid the charm of Paris, but a visit to the tower is the only way to get those famous high shots of Paris without boarding a helicopter.
From the air-conditioned observation deck on the 56th floor, you can soak in the view, and then visit the restaurant and cocktail bar.
Address: rue de l’Arrivée, 15th. Open daily from 9.30am to 10.30pm in winter, 11.30pm in summer.
|Gare Montparnasse (lines 4, 6, 12, 13)|
Our Montparnasse Ratings
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(“Five Towers” is the highest rating possible)
Take a private Montparnasse area walking tour with us.