Montparnasse is a lively and vibrant neighborhood in the heart of Paris. It’s home to many famous landmarks, including the tomb of Serge Gainsbourg, the Montparnasse Tower, and the Catacombs. It’s also a great place to enjoy some of the best food and wine in the city. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your visit to Montparnasse.
Montparnasse has historically been an artistic neighborhood, attracting many artists and writers of the 20th century. The bohemian neighborhood has stayed true to its roots and continues to attract creative types like movie director Wes Anderson who owns an apartment in the neighborhood. If you want to walk in the footsteps of bohemian artists and jazz singers of the 1920s, Montparnasse is the place to go.
Getting To and From Montparnasse
Montparnasse straddles the 6th and 14th arrondissements. It is well-connected to the rest of Paris by public transportation. The Montparnasse-Bienvenüe metro station is located on the neighborhood’s main street, Boulevard Montparnasse. The station has lines 4, 6, 12, and 13, which will take you to all the major attractions in Paris.
If you’re coming from Charles de Gaulle Airport, you can take the RER B straight train to Port-Royal station. The journey takes about 1 hour.
Hotels in Montparnasse
There are a few great hotels located in Montparnasse which can accommodate different budgets.
Luxury hotel options include:
- Pullman Paris Montparnasse
- Hôtel des Academies et des Arts
- Niepce Paris Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton
Mid-range options include:
- Hôtel Lenox Montparnasse
- Hôtel Mercure Paris Gare Montparnasse
- Hôtel Aiglon
- Hôtel A La Villa Des Artistes
Budget options include:
Restaurants / Where to Eat in Montparnasse
There are plenty of great places to eat in Montparnasse, whether you’re looking for a quick bite or a sit-down meal.
Another famous brasserie is Le Dôme, founded in 1897, very popular with the literary elite like Anaïs Nin back in the day. Today you can get fresh fish here and enjoy a scrumptious lunch or dinner. Le Dôme even offers a Menu Ernest which offers two choices each of an entrée, a main course, and finally a dessert for 45€ total per person.
The storied restaurant La Closerie Des Lilas is another must-visit restaurant in Montparnasse, open since 1847.
Café de la Rotonde has been an artistic milieu for decades welcoming guests such as Amedeo Modigliani and Jean Cocteau. It was opened at the beginning of the 20th century in 1911 and has an exceptional spot on the corner of Boulevard Raspail and Boulevard Montparnasse.
For traditional French dining, try La Coupole, a Paris institution that has been serving up classic French fare since 1927.
For something a bit more casual, check out the lovely sidewalk cafés lining Boulevard du Montparnasse. The Montparnasse neighborhood is home to many great brasseries and cafés.
Where to Get Coffee in Montparnasse
Montparnasse is home to many great cafés for people-watching. Lots of 20th-century creatives found their inspiration on these same sidewalks. Ernest Hemingway, Henry Miller, and Pablo Picasso all hung out in this formerly gritty neighborhood. Pick a spot at any brasserie on Boulevard Montparnasse and you’ll have a pleasant morning sipping on Ricard coffee and nibbling a croissant.
Where to Go Out for Drinks in Montparnasse
Montparnasse is known for its lively nightlife. If you’re looking for a place to have a drink, check out Le Dôme, a legendary brasserie that’s been serving up drinks since 1898.
Head to Rosebud, a long-time speakeasy that still retains the charm of the 1930s Parisian jazz age. It has been haunted by the likes of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre.
For something a bit more low-key, try Le Sélect, a cozy bar located on Rue de Montparnasse.
You can’t miss having a drink at the highest rooftop bar in Paris – the Tour Montparnasse 56, atop the famous black tower!
Shopping in Montparnasse
There are many great shops and boutiques located in Montparnasse along the major boulevards such as Rue de Rennes. Continue north and you’ll run into the famous Le Bon Marché department store for the finest French luxury fashion.
Things to Do in Montparnasse
Here are the best things to do in Montparnasse neighborhood, Paris.
Climb to the top of the Montparnasse Tower. This 210-meter skyscraper offers 360-degree views of Paris and is a great place to snap some photos of the city. It was constructed from 1969 to 1973 and was the tallest building in France until 2011.
Explore the Catacombs. The Paris Catacombs are a network of tunnels and caves that contain the remains of millions of Parisians. They’re a bit spooky but definitely worth a visit. Around half a million people tour these caves each year!
Take a stroll through the Montparnasse Cemetery. This sprawling cemetery is one of the largest in Paris and is home to the graves of many famous people. See where poet Charles Baudelaire, philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, and author Simone de Beauvoir are buried.
While there, definitely visit the tomb of Serge Gainsbourg. This famous French singer is buried in the Montparnasse Cemetery, and his tomb is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the neighborhood.
If you love theater, don’t miss a show at the Théâtre de la Gaîté-Montparnasse. Le Grand Point-Virgule is another worthy theater to frequent for thespians.
Visit the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, an art museum home to many contemporary works of art.
The Bourdelle Museum is a small yet stunning museum to discover and learn about the work of sculptor Antoine Bourdelle, a former student of Auguste Rodin. It will reopen on March 15, 2023.
The French Post Office Museum is also nearby. Here you can explore a wide collection of France’s postal service history including old letters, stamps, and postal worker uniforms.
Discover the nearby Giacometti Institute, where you can see the famous sculptor Alberto Giacommeti’s recreated studio and admire his work.
Although it’s temporarily closed, the Paris Observatory is worth a visit for its events celebrating the art of astronomy in France. Founded in 1667 for the Sun King’s astronomers, the Observatoire de Paris is a unique way to discover the universe.
Shop along rue Daguerre, a pedestrian street that is home to many boutique shops.
Take a break and stroll through the Luxembourg Gardens, the largest public park in Paris. This park is a great place to relax, people-watch, and take in the sights and sounds of the city.
As you can see, there’s plenty to do in Montparnasse. Montparnasse is a great place to spend a few days exploring all that Paris has to offer. With its convenient location and historic charm, you’ll love your time in Montparnasse!