This is an enchanting tour in the Montparnasse area. Even if today, the neighborhood is more well known for a huge commercial centre, train station and its emblematic 1970’s tower, Montparnasse is filled with back alleys, amazing stories, artists homes and workshops as well as a vibrant day and night life especially embodied with the famous great brasseries that made the area famous around the world in the first half of the twentieth century.
- Location : Métro Vavin (line 4)
- Duration : 2h15
- Tour is run at special dates only from 20€ (group tour) to 40€/p (individuals)
- Private tour at any date (210€)
Today Montparnasse is well known for its tower, the train station and its many theaters. However, the district was from 1900, and especially during the interwar years, the heart of the artistic and intellectual Parisian life, after the heyday of Montmartre and just before Saint-Germain-des-Prés. After Apollinaire, Gauguin or Matisse, many foreign artists, mostly Jews, went into exile in Paris to find favorable conditions to the development of their art. Modigliani, Zadkine, Soutine, Chagall and many others formed then the “School of Paris”, a name that rather refers to a group of artists than a real artistic movement.
This walk will bring you at the time of this old Montparnasse! Along artists’ studios, unsuspected green paths and other curiosities, (re)discover the charms of Montparnasse neighborhood.
We’ll start first with the 4 great brasseries where it all began: la Rotonde, le Dôme, le Select and la Coupole. Who remembers one of the most famous Russian revolutionary started in one of them as a waiter! So many famous artists joined there it would be impossible to name them all. Most of them, at this time penniless, spent more time putting the world to tights than consume…
We’ll then go around a few Streets full of charm and ancient famous artists workshop as well as many still in use. a few museums worthy to be talked about are also on the way.
The stroll will take us after at the Montparnasse cemetery. It holds tombs of a few people emblematic of the area as well as famous philosopher Jean Paul Sartre or singer Serge Gainsbourg. A short distance apart, the rue de la Gaité (“cheerfulness”), lined with pubs and theatres, still bears an atmosphere of the ancient Montparnasse, especially with the many crepes restaurants, held by people arriving form Brittany to the Montparnasse train station next door.
Insolite back alleys, modernist architecture square and elevated pathways will take us to the train station, above which lies a hidden garden, clammed in between 1980’s block of flats. More city of Paris museums are also there, including the Liberation of Paris one, as the German occupying troops surrender there, in the old station, back in august 1944.
From small pathways, we’ll hit more back cobbled streets full of plants and flowers before ending the tour outside a last open air impressive sculpture museum, with the artist workshop still as it was during his life time.
Individuals, Group tour, Private Tour