Life and Death in Montparnasse

The neighborhood of Montparnasse, located on the left bank of Paris in the 14th arrondissement, first became prominent during the era between the World Wars. By examining life and death in this unique district during this Interwar period, one can see the vibrant and colorful atmosphere that fostered the greatest literature and art of the twentieth century.

The Catacombs

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,…

Café de la Rotonde

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…

Hemingway and Montparnasse

A member of the Lost Generation, a conglomeration of thinkers, artists, and authors, Hemingway spent a great deal of time in the bohemian neighborhood of Montparnasse. It was here that he talked with Gertrude Stein and F. Scott Fitzgerald, it was…

Café du Dôme

The Café du Dôme opened its doors in 1898, as the first café of its type in Montparnasse. Today the café is the oldest and one of the most famous cafés in Montparnasse. Guillaume Apollinaire coined the term Dômiers to refer to the international rat…

Montparnasse Cemetery

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…

Gertrude Stein

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…

Rodin's Tribute to Balzac

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…

Man Ray and Eugene Atget's Lives in Montparnasse

Eugene Atget’s apartment and studio was located at 17 bis Rue Campagne-Première (“bis” indicates a “half” address). Not a lot is known about Atget, since he largely did not become popular until after his death. We do know he was born in Libourne,…

American Influence

The expatriates defined Montparnasse in the interwar period, and the neighborhood grew with their legacy. The two are intertwined with each other and have left large influences on one another. After World War I, many artists and intellects were…

Les Deux Magots

Although Montparnasse is now remembered for being the center of the artistic and intellectual revolution of the interwar period, other spots around Paris also boast of their connection with the Lost Generation. In the Saint-Germain-des-Prés…

Odéon Théâtre

Located directly behind the Luxembourg Castle lies the Odéon Théâtre, one of the six national theaters of France. The theater is a gem and a constant source of artistic expression in the Montparnasse neighborhood and throughout Paris. With a rich…

Luxembourg Gardens

The Luxembourg Gardens are a defining aspect of the Montparnasse neighborhood, as a popular site for relaxation and recreation in the middle of a bustling city. Created in 1611, Catherine de’ Medici built the Luxembourg palace and gardens after the…

Evolution of Montparnasse

The district of Montparnasse has long been associated with literature and art. In the 17th century, the area was a popular site for Parisian students to meet and recite poetry; they named the region after the mythological home of the Muses and…

Le Select

At the corner of the Rue Vavin in Montparnasse, the Le Select opened as an instant success in 1925 by the Pléget family. It served as a meeting place for intellectuals, artists, writers, dancers and other creative types during the interwar period…