The Best of Montparnasse: A Comprehensive Guide

Montparnasse is a historic neighbourhood in Paris that was formerly home to the city’s thriving cultural and intellectual culture. The district, which is located on the left bank of the Seine River in Paris, has a long history dating back to the Middle Ages. Originally a rural area, the district had become a thriving urban neighborhood with a diversified population by the late nineteenth century. The area was a meeting spot for some of the most famous artists, philosophers, and thinkers of the early twentieth century, including Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Many notable painters lived and worked in the neighborhood, including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Salvador Dali, producing some of their most important works.

Local Tips;

  • Montparnasse was famed for its bohemian environment and avant-garde culture during this time period, and was home to various galleries and studios. Although its status as an artistic hotspot has eroded in recent years, many of the district’s original buildings and symbols still survive as memories of its rich cultural history.
  • The region was also known for its active nightlife, with a plethora of cafes, pubs, and music venues attracting both locals and visitors. A trip to Montparnasse would be incomplete without visiting some of them. La Coupole, Le Dôme, and La Rotonde were all popular hangouts for artists and intellectuals in the early twentieth century, and they all continue to provide wonderful food and drink today. Le Chat Noir, the famed cabaret, is also located in Montparnasse.
  • Despite experiencing substantial damage during WWII, Montparnasse remained a cultural center after the war. Today, the region is home to several major structures and institutions, like as the Tour Montparnasse, the Musée Bourdelle (Bourdelle Museum), and the Cimetière du Montparnasse (Montparnasse cemetery).
  • To gain a sense of the area’s history and culture, consider taking a walking tour. The Montparnasse Walking Tour takes you through the historic areas of Montparnasse and the Latin Quarter, where you can learn about the local artists, writers, and philosophers.
  • Consider including the Bourdelle Museum on your trip as well. The museum houses the studio of sculptor Antoine Bourdelle and is an example of a Parisian atelier from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. From 1885 to 1929, it was Bourdelle’s busy studio. Bourdelle began planning to turn his studio into a museum in 1922. It is a worthwhile stop to make because of its historical and artistic features. The museum is open daily except Mondays and is conveniently accessible by metro.

Montparnasse View

If you’re planning to explore the area, consider purchasing a Montparnasse Tickets pass. This pass gives you access to many popular attractions in the area, including the Montparnasse Tower, the Catacombs, and the Montparnasse Museum. The pass can be purchased online or at any participating attraction.

If you are looking for some retail therapy, Montparnasse has many of possibilities. Galeries Lafayette Montparnasse is a department store that sells a variety of fashion and beauty items. You can also visit the numerous boutiques and shops on Rue de Rennes. Rue de Rennes is a busy shopping area filled with fashion, décor, kitchen items, antique shops, jewelry stores, restaurants, and cafes…

In a nutshell, everything you need to have a fantastic shopping day with family or friends. Etam, H&M, Fnac, Zara, Céline, Gap, Kenzo, and more popular fashion labels can be found in the region. People shopping for premium items will be pleased to find luxury clothes and shoe stores like Devernois, Loft by Design, Kenzo, Kooples, Arcus, as well as accessories and jewelry shops: Cartier, Monblanc, Lancel, Rolex, etc.

A day trip to the nearby Palace of Versailles is highly recommended for those seeking to venture beyond Montparnasse. The palace, which is only 12 miles southwest of Paris, is a spectacular example of Baroque architecture that served as the residence of the French monarchy from the 17th century until the French Revolution. Visitors to Versailles can tour the luxurious inside of the palace, which includes the Hall of Mirrors, the Royal Apartments, and the Chapel, as well as the large gardens and grounds, which include fountains, statues, and decorative lakes.

For anybody interested in art, culture, or history, Montparnasse is a must-see in Paris. The rich cultural past of the district is visible in its many galleries, museums, art installations, and its bustling atmosphere with stunning architecture make it a great destination to visit. From the antique cafes and restaurants to the breathtaking views from the top of the Montparnasse Tower, this fascinating and lively neighborhood has something for everyone.

Getting to Montparnasse District

How to get to Montparnasse by metro, bus or train

montparnasse metro station sign

To get to the Montparnasse district in Paris, you can take the metro, bus or train. Here are some options:
• Metro lines 4, 6, 12, and 13 all stop at the Montparnasse-Bienvenue station.
• Line 4 connects Montparnasse to the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area and the Marais.
• Line 6 takes you to the Eiffel Tower and the Trocadéro.
• Line 12 goes to Montmartre and Pigalle.
• Line 13 connects to the Champs-Elysées and the Saint-Lazare train station.

• Bus lines 28, 58, 82, 88, 89, 91, 92, 94, 95, and 96 all stop in the Montparnasse area.

• The Montparnasse train station serves destinations in western France, such as Brittany, Normandy, and the Loire Valley.

Tips for getting around Montparnasse by foot or bike and tours

Once you’re in the Montparnasse district, walking or biking are great ways to get around. The area has many bike rental stations and plenty of sidewalks. If you prefer a guided tour, there are several options, including walking tours of the historic neighborhoods and food tour that you can taste delicious French cuisine and bike tours that take you to nearby attractions like the Luxembourg Gardens.

Montparnasse is a pedestrian-friendly district with numerous stores, cafes, and landmarks within walking distance of one another. The Montparnasse Tower, which offers amazing views of Paris and the surrounding surroundings, is an excellent starting place for your walking tour.

If you prefer to explore the area on two wheels one popular option to rent a bike is Vélib’, which has over 1,800 bike stations throughout Paris. You can rent a bike for a day or longer, and enjoy the city’s bike paths and parks.

Cultural norms and expectations

Montparnasse Streets and Cafes

Montparnasse is a culturally diverse and cosmopolitan district in Paris, and when visiting, travelers should be mindful of specific cultural conventions and expectations. Here are a few things to remember:
1. Dress Code: Paris is recognized for its fashion and style, and Montparnasse is no exception. Dressing neatly is often expected, especially when visiting luxury restaurants or activities. This includes not wearing shorts, flip flops, or other casual clothing.
2. Tipping: Tipping is not as widespread in Paris as it is in some other nations, but it is still appreciated for good service. It is common to leave a few euros as a tip in restaurants and cafes, although tipping in taxis or for other services is not expected.
3. Language: While French is the official language, many people in Montparnasse and other tourist areas speak English as well. However, it’s always a good idea to learn a few basic French words, such as “Bonjour” (hello), “Merci” (thank you), and “Au revoir” (goodbye).
4. Time: In France, punctuality is valued, so it’s important to arrive on time for appointments and reservations. If you’re running late, it’s polite to call and let the other person know.
5. Social Interactions: Because French people appreciate politeness and respect, being kind and considerate in social interactions is important. When you bump into someone, say “Excusez-moi” (pardon me), and when you enter a store or restaurant, say “Bonjour” or “Bonsoir” (good evening).

Overall, by being respectful and kind, and keeping these cultural norms and expectations in mind, you can have a more enjoyable and positive experience in Montparnasse.

Montparnasse Tower

The Montparnasse Tower is a famous landmark in Paris, providing stunning views of the city. The Montparnasse Tower, which measures 210 meters tall, was installed in 1973. It was initially planned to be part of a wider development plan that included the construction of many other towers, but the project was ultimately canceled. Despite initial criticism, the skyscraper has become a beloved part of the Paris skyline.

Panoramic Views from Montparnasse Tower
montparnasse tower panoramic view
Montparnasse Rooftop, located on the 56th floor of Montparnasse Tower, provides impressive panoramic views of Paris. The Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Notre Dame Cathedral can all be seen here. The terrace also has a 360-degree panorama to see the city from every angle.

Best Time to Visit Montparnasse Tower

Early in the morning or late in the evening, shortly before sunset, are the best times to visit Montparnasse Tower. The light is most lovely at this time of day, and the city is bathed in a warm glow. Avoid going during peak times because the crowds can be overwhelming.

Insider Tips for Visiting Montparnasse Tower;

  • Purchase tickets in advance to skip the lines and save time.
  • Bring a camera or smartphone to capture the stunning views.
  • If you’re visiting in the summer months, bring sunscreen and a hat, as the sun can be intense at this height.
    Consider dining at the Le Ciel de Paris restaurant, located on the 56th floor of the tower, for a special dining experience with a view.
  • Take advantage of the free audio guide in several languages to learn more about the landmarks you can see from the observation deck.
  • Finally, everybody visiting Paris should make a visit to the Montparnasse Tower. It’s an experience you won’t soon forget, with its stunning views and fascinating history.

Plan ahead of time, pack a camera, and enjoy the breathtaking panoramic views of the City of Lights from this incredible perspective.

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Montparnasse Cemetery

Montparnasse Cemetery

The Montparnasse Cemetery is also a must-see in the neighborhood. Many great people, including writers, artists, statesmen, and philosophers, are buried here in peace. Charles Baudelaire, Guy de Maupassant, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Charles Garnier, Samuel Beckett, Émile Durkheim, and Ossip Zadkine are among the prominent artists, philosophers, and writers who are buried here. The cemetery is free to enter and explore at your leisure.

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Catacombs of Paris

Paris Catacombs

Visit the Catacombs of Paris for a unique and creepy experience. More than six million people’s skeletons are housed in this underground ossuary. The Catacombs are accessible via the Denfert-Rochereau metro station, which is a short distance from Montparnasse. You can find more information about the place, the tours and insider tips about Paris Catacombs on our blog!

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Montparnasse Travel Guide: Exploring the Art and Culture Scene

In the 1920s, Montparnasse was the center of the artistic and cultural scene in Paris. The neighborhood was home to many famous artists, writers, and intellectuals, who would gather at cafes and studios to discuss art, politics, and philosophy. It was a time of artistic experimentation and boundary-pushing, with painters, sculptors, and authors. Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Man Ray are among the most famous. Their works are preserved in museums and galleries throughout the city, and many of their previous haunts are still surviving, permitting a window into the past.

Montparnasse became regarded as the origin of several artistic trends, including surrealism, cubism, and dadaism. This period is sometimes referred to as the “Années Folles” (Roaring Twenties) or the “Lost Generation,” and it had a significant impact on modern art and society.

Best art galleries and museums in Montparnasse

woman in paris art gallery

There are various museums and galleries worth visiting if you want to learn more about Montparnasse’s art and culture:
1. The Musée Bourdelle is a sculpture and drawing museum dedicated to the works of artist Antoine Bourdelle.
2. The Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson is devoted to Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of the twentieth century’s most prominent photographers. The foundation hosts many exhibitions and events. Additionally, once every two years, supports the creation of an ambitious photography project with an award.
3. The Musée Zadkine is devoted to the works of sculptor Ossip Zadkine, who was born and raised in Montparnasse.
4. The Centre Pompidou, located just outside Montparnasse, is one of the world’s most famous museums of modern art, with pieces by Picasso, Matisse, and Kandinsky.

Overall, Montparnasse is a neighborhood with a rich history and dynamic culture that has influenced art and culture today. You can learn more about the artists who lived and worked in Montparnasse and their lasting impact on art and culture by visiting the neighborhood’s art galleries and museums.

Day Trips from Montparnasse

Montparnasse City

Montparnasse is a great base for exploring the many wonderful sights and attractions in the Paris region. Here are some ideas for day trips that you can take from Montparnasse:

1. Versailles Palace and Gardens: One of France’s most famous and recognizable sights, the Palace of Versailles is only a short train trip from Montparnasse. Visitors can tour the palace’s magnificent interiors, stroll through the manicured gardens, and marvel at the famed Hall of Mirrors. This is an absolute must-see for anyone interested in French history and architecture. If you wish to visit the famed Palace of Versailles, you may get there easily. It takes about 30 minutes to get from Montparnasse train station to Versailles Chantiers train station. Alternatively, a guided excursion that includes transportation from Montparnasse to Versailles is available.

2. Fontainebleau: This lovely town is approximately 55 kilometers south of Paris. It is notable for its magnificent Chateau, which served as the residence of several French rulers over the years. Visitors can tour the Chateau’s beautiful chambers and gardens and learn about its fascinating history.

3. Chartres: Chartres is a little town around 90 kilometers southwest of Paris. It is well-known for its magnificent Gothic cathedral, considered one of the most exquisite specimens of medieval architecture in the world. Visitors can marvel at the elaborate stained-glass windows and magnificent spires of the cathedral and explore the old town’s small alleys and lovely squares.

4. Giverny: Giverny is a little village around 80 kilometers northwest of Paris. It is well-known for its relationship with the artist Claude Monet, who spent many years living and working here. Monet’s lovely residence and gardens, which inspired many of his most famous paintings, are open to visitors.

5. Disneyland Paris: Located just 40 kilometers east of Paris, Disneyland Paris is popular for families and anyone who likes theme parks. Visitors can enjoy rides and attractions, meet their favorite Disney characters, and experience Disney’s bright and magical world. If you wish to visit the Disneyland Paris theme park, Montparnasse is a short distance away. You only need to take the RER A train from the station.

Finally, Montparnasse is an excellent starting point for visiting the many magnificent sights and attractions in the Paris area. Whether interested in history, architecture, art, or simply having fun, Montparnasse has something for everyone. So, plan your day trips from Montparnasse and see the many attractions of the Paris region. Before your fabulous vacation to Paris, don’t forget to read previous heytripster articles about the city’s other districts!


Is Montparnasse a good area in Paris?

Yes, Montparnasse is a good area in Paris. It's a vibrant and diverse neighborhood with a rich history and many attractions, including the iconic Montparnasse Tower, the historic Montparnasse Cemetery, and a vibrant art and culture scene. It's also an excellent base for exploring the many beautiful sights and attractions in the Paris region.

What is Montparnasse known for?

Montparnasse is famous for its iconic tower, which provides panoramic views of the city and its rich history as the art world's hub in the 1920s. It is also well-known for its numerous cafés and restaurants, which serve a variety of excellent French cuisine.

Is it good to stay in Montparnasse?

Yes, staying in Montparnasse is an excellent decision if you want to be in a vibrant and diverse neighborhood with plenty to see and do. It's also an excellent starting point for visiting the rest of the city and adjacent attractions. It's in a handy position with good transportation links to the rest of Paris and the surrounding area. Plenty of attractions and services are around, including cafes, restaurants, stores, and cultural organizations.

What does Montparnasse mean in French?

Montparnasse is called after Mont Parnassus, a Greek mountain devoted to the muses in Greek mythology. The name was chosen to honor the many artists and writers who lived and worked in the neighborhood and were regarded as modern-day muses.

What is the most posh area in Paris?

Paris has several posh areas, but the most famous one is probably the 8th arrondissement, which includes the Champs-Elysées, the Place de la Concorde, and many luxury boutiques and hotels. Other posh neighborhoods in Paris include the 16th arrondissement, the 7th arrondissement, and parts of the 1st arrondissement.
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Deniz Dide Coşkun

I have a passion for creative expression, and I love to use art and writing as means of sharing my thoughts and emotions. I also enjoy using my knowledge and experiences to inform people about what is out there waiting for us. That is precisely why I am writing here today.
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