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Montparnasse District - Paris France
  • The District of Montparnasse enjoyed its height of cultural success during the early 1900s (1900 to approximately 1940)
  • Once at your destination, I recommend, first-off, you point yourself in a westerly direction along Montparnasse Blvd to the historic Place du 18-Juin-1940
  • Here I believe you will be reasonably impressed by (Ricardo Boffil's) Amphitheatre (post-modern) semi-circular structure
  • We spotted perhaps the best of Left Bank cafe cultural aspect—that being
  • In my opinion, the strong fundamental design relative to the Val de Grace easily competes with the Church at the Invalides

    • by DawnMichel

      all reviews
      There are many good walking routes while visiting Paris; and I encourage you to visit often: exploring many different areas—that is, if you can so manage. The area of subject, within this review is: Montparnasse.

      My first impression of Montparnasse is that it is a vibrant area in the way of eateries; cafes, nightlife, and historic as well as contemporary architecture. As to the latter, I was right as far as my initial impression was concerned since the district is home to one of the most significant high-rise structures the world over—that being the fifty-nine towering construction referred to as the Tour Montparnasse. The high-rise was originally built during the 70s, and needless to say, is fairly bland as to architectural aspect. I am not, however, suggesting that is bad or good; the building’s design is relative to the time period or the era which it was built. That said, if you are fortunate enough to view the city from the top of this building; you are afforded with a grand view: certainly not plain in way of description. So, with regard to all that has been said here, it is to your benefit to place the Tour Montparnasse on your agenda—which should not be all too difficult since it is one of the tallest structures the world over.

      The question which may occur to the Parisian visitor may be: How do I locate the District of Montparnasse? The way to find it is to remember it is one-half kilometer (one mile) south of the Seine. The District (historical-wise) is named after the Grecian mountain: Mount Parnassus. The mountain is tied to worshiping Apollo.

      The District of Montparnasse enjoyed its height of cultural success during the early 1900s (1900 to approximately 1940). It was during this period in time poets and artisans were attracted to the District. The District of Montparnasse, during the era just mentioned, became the new area of cultural affluence; replacing the area of Montmartre. The trend caused Montparnasse Blvd. to become a very thriving place: The boulevard is the primary street inside the District.

      The street may no longer hold the same artsy charm of yesteryear; however, as already conveyed, it still provides the Parisian visitor with a great deal of sight-seeing opportunity. Again, the area buzzes with eateries, cafes, clubs (for those who enjoy the nightlife), and theaters.

      Also, might I add, if you are enthused in viewing various forms of architecture; the area does not lack in this regard (either). There are several tall buildings; built since the 1970s. In example, you may find the Cartier Center for Contemporary Art – a glass-cubed design to your liking. Further, the Montparnasse Train Station provides the visitor a very modern design: complete with stylish glass facing; and a fashionable garden. All that said, you are (now) ready to stroll the District and take in all of its impressive

      sight-seeing opportunities which is addressed further below.

      Just so you know, the entirety of the District’s surface area is approximately three miles. The walk (altogether) may take the morning. In order to reach the starting point requires your taking the metro to the Vavin Station: The Vavin Station sits at the corner of Montparnasse Blvd; and Raspail Boulevard.

      Once at your destination, I recommend, first-off, you point yourself in a westerly direction along Montparnasse Blvd to the historic Place du 18-Juin-1940. You cannot miss it since the Tour Montparnasse rises high above it.

      Next, do as we did, and (advisably) journey down boulevard de Vaugirard. The boulevard is to the right of the station. You will wish to take the lift up to No. 25. There you will find a very fashionable park commonly referred to as: Jardin Atlantique. The park is set over the railway tracks. You may take in the history of the Second World War within a contemporary museum nearby. The museum places focus on the liberation of the city; and the “Resistance.” The proximity of the museum is near the area of the entrance. If you are a World War II history “buff” you may enjoy the visit.

      Next go to the far end of the Jardin Atlantique (designer park) and take a left to the Place de Catalogne. Here I believe you will be reasonably impressed by (Ricardo Boffil’s) Amphitheatre (post-modern) semi-circular structure. The Amphitheatre serves the purpose of residential housing. The well-designed building is full of grand arcades; and is again, a semi-circle as far as architectural fashion or aspect. The building, in my humble opinion, presents a comfortable (design) scheme; yet is (again) quite grand as to its overall effect. The charming Notre-Dame Travail sits back of the Amphitheatre Residential Complex.

      Once you leave the area of the semi-circular grandeur of the Amphitheatre; the Pont des Cinq-Martyres take you left over the railway tracks of the Montparnasse District station. The Rue Jean-Zay then takes you away from Place de Catalogne and to the corner of Cimetiere du Montparnasse. We entered the cemetery paying our respects to notable persons (naturally of other eras). You will wish to enter the (cemetery) grounds by way of rue Froidevaux.

      Afterwards, rue Froidevaux continues to Place Den-fert Rochereau. Here, I believe you will be favorably impressed by an enormous bronze work of art entitled “Lion of Belfort”, (created by Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi).

      We, soon after, strolled (comfortably) up the Boulevard Raspail; past the glass cubed structure which maintains (or houses) the Foundation Cartier. Once at this point, you take the third right which is: rue Campagne-Premiere. The street is a nicely appointed street which was historically inhabited by past notable persons such as the artist Picasso; Kandinsky, Miro and Modigliani.

      Once we were at the end; or bottom portion of Campagne-Premiere we, subsequently made a right onto boulevard du Montparnasse. Once here: ...

      • We spotted perhaps the best of Left Bank cafe cultural aspect—that being: the Closerie des Lilas.

        From this point, we traveled up to the avenue de l’Observatoire to the astronomical observatory requisitioned by (French ruler) Louis XIV; most commonly known as Observatoire de Paris. Looking in the opposite direction is the fountain referred to as the Fontaine de l’Observatoire. The avenue de l’Observatoire presents its visitor with a beautiful street lined with trees. After (again) noticing the fountain; we strolled toward it, down this engaging avenue. We then made a right just past the fountain. We traveled from this point down rue du Val-de-Grace. Here it was easy to spot the Baroque-styled dome of the Val de Grace Church. Looking straight, from this point is: Jardin du Luxembourg.

        Now that I’ve provided you with a layout of the walking route with respect to the area’s sites; you may wish to receive some information about each site (along the way). The following content provides you with further details.

        Site information within the Montparnasse District of Paris

        1)Cimetiere du Montparnasse – The cemetery is the final resting grounds for many historically famous persons. We found monuments and headstones with respect to the following noteworthy individuals: a) Auguste Bartholdi; b) Jean-Paul Sartre; c) Man Ray; d) Samuel Beckett, e) Jean Seberg; and f) Charles Baudelaire. Also make note: Do not expect the final resting grounds to provide an eye-appealing setting because it does not. However that said, cemetery historians will find it interesting in the way of unique headstones; and statuary. You may access the cemetery grounds at: rue Froidevaux, bd. Edgar-Quinet. Metro: Raspail, Gaite.

        2)Foundation Cartier – (also known as The Cartier Foundation). The Foundation Cartier is a glass-cubicle (modern styled) construction and is the architectural design achievement of noted architect/designer Jean Nouvell. Needless to say, the building presents quite an impressive sight. In my (humble) opinion, it is the perfect home structure for the non-permanent art exhibitions organized by the world-renowned jewelry company Cartier. The precise address (for your advisement) is: 261 bd. Raspail. The phone number is: 01-42-18-56-50. The hours of operation are Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 8:00 pm. In order to access it, if not following the above walking route; take the Metro: Raspail. There is a slight charge for admission to the museum.

        3)Place de Catalogne – The square (Place de Catalogne) is sight of Ricardo Boffil’s Amphitheatre: a residential arrangement. The highly-stylized “show of architecture” is a classical creation. Looking behind the Amphitheatre is the Church of Notre-Dame du Travail. The framing of the latter is of steel and iron meant to be symbolic of a work ethos. You may access the area by way of: Metro Gaite.

        4)Val de Grace – The church is yet another sacred sight-seeing opportunity. (As you may recall, I mentioned

        it last within the preceding content when describing the sight-seeing walking path of the Montparnasse District within Paris-proper). The Val de Grace Church built during the 1600s on Paris’s notable Left Bank presents quite an impression in way of Italian Baroque design. The church was originally requisitioned (or commissioned) by Anne of Austria. The church’s designer is Francois Mansart. In my opinion, the strong fundamental design relative to the Val de Grace easily competes with the Church at the Invalides. It is by far Paris’s most notable example of Italianate Baroque architecture. The face of the Val de Grace presents a two-story structure. The church’s address is 1 Pl. Alphonse-Laveran. RER: Port-Royal.

        5)The Jardin Atlantique (Atlantic Garden) – The fashionable garden was originally designed during the early portion of the 90s. The park is set out upon a concourse, on top of the rail tracks which lead to Gare Montparnasse. The park’s general layout encompasses or more precisely spans over one hundred yards of track. The “smallish” setting is comprised of foliage and tress from different nations (or more accurately those countries set adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean). The park’s feature is: what at first appears to be a metallic sculptural work of art; however, in reality is an observatory with respect to the weather. A battery operated sign shows the area’s current speed as to wind, temperature and rainfall (measurement). The precise location of the park and accompanying weather observatory is: Pont des Cinq-Martyrs-du-Lycee-Buffon. Metro: Montparnasse-Bienvenue.

        6)Tour Montparnasse (also known as Montparnasse Tower) – The structure was completed with regard to construction in 1973. You may access the 685 foot tower’s open air terrace and receive a breath-taking view of the city: I highly advise you do so. Fifty-two of the building’s fifty nine stories are taken up by offices; inclusive of a shopping area located on the building’s first floor. The tower is a beacon of light for Parisians and its visitors at nighttime

        Historically-speaking, Place du 18-Juin-1940 which is found underneath the extensive high-rise is named after the subsequent event which happened after the radio speech delivered by French leader Charles de Gaulle in May of 1940. The speech was broadcast from London (England) wherein the leader urged the French people to resist the invasion of the Nazis. The Place du 18-Juin-1940 is the (precise) location where Dietrich von Choltitz (German Military Governor) surrendered in August of 1944 to Allied forces. The German Governor did not comply with Hitler’s Orders to destroy Paris and withdrew. There is a plaque positioned on the wall (here) commemorating the event. The address is: 33 av. Du Maine. Hours of operation follow: April through September, daily 9:30 to 11:30 pm; October through March, Sunday through Thursday, 9:30 am to 1030 pm, Friday through Saturday, 9:30 am to 11:00 pm. Metro: Montparnasse-Bienvenuse.

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    The review was published as it's written by reviewer in April, 2011. The reviewer certified that no compensation was received from the reviewed item producer, trademark owner or any other institution, related with the item reviewed. The site is not responsible for the mistakes made. 3825041470730530/k2311a0425/4.25.11
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