Honoré de Balzac was born in 1799 to a family that managed to earn a measure of respectability through hard work and industry. His father was obsessed with raising their social standing, even going so far as to change the familial surname to sound…

Born in 1874 in Allegheny, Pennsylvania to wealthy Jewish parents, Gertrude Stein moved to Vienna and then Paris with her family at a very young age. Her parents encouraged their children to absorb European culture, an experience that would have a…

The Montparnasse Cemetery was one of four cemeteries created in the 1800s to replace church cemeteries in Paris (which happened to be why the Catacombs were created). It opened on July 25, 1824 as Cimetiere de Sud (or de Midi, accounts differ). It is…

During the two World Wars, Montparnasse was a vibrant, exciting neighborhood that was constantly challenging the ideas and traditions of the time. Many painters, photographers, and intellects lived in Montparnasse due to the prominent café culture in…

Catacombs are not particular to Paris, others can be found in Spain, the United Kingdom, Portugal, and others around the world. But the Parisian catacombs are certainly the most well known. The catacombs were originally just limestone mines,…