Montparnasse was once the far away home for the Lost Generation in the mid-1920s. However, Hemingway, Satie, Cocteau, Modigliani, and the like may not recognize the area nowadays. These artists wined and dined in the establishments along Boulevard Montparnasse after the First World War.
But having spent weeks and weeks in this arrondissement, I can tell you there is still plenty to explore amongst these quiet streets. Part of the 14th arrondissement’s allure is that it doesn’t feel like a part of urban Paris, with plenty of homes maintaining ancient architecture and most walkways lined with cobblestones.
Some posts on this site contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you!). Opinions are always my own and I’ll never promote something I don’t use or believe in. Also as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
It also has the highest concentration of people from the Breton region (one of the reasons may be that the Gare Montparnasse has quick trains to Brittany!) and is fabulous for crepes! Plus you have historic brasseries like La Coupole (even Emily and Alfie enjoyed a coupe there in episode 10 of season 2 of Emily in Paris) where Miles Davis and Josephine Baker often appeared.
It is a mostly sleepy and residential neighborhood dominated by the only skyscraper in Paris: la Tour Montparnasse. You can visit le Ciel de Paris (the Paris Sky), the highest panoramic restaurant in Paris, for a gourmet meal with a view!
Consider a visit to the Montparnasse cemetery. Parisian authorities created it and three other cemeteries after banning burials in the center of Paris. At the time, the 14th arrondissement wasn’t part of the city. Some of the most famous French people were buried at the Montparnasse cemetery, including writers Jean-Paul Sartre and Marguerite Duras.
The famous Paris Catacombs were created after the cemeteries in the city filled up and spilled into people’s houses. The government ordered a clean-up of city graves, with most skeletons buried in the city’s underground limestone quarries. A massive network of these quarries lies below the 14th arrondissement.
You should visit these tombs, as they hold a unique tale of Parisian history. It is also an excellent place to cool off if it is very hot while you are visiting Paris as the catacombs always remain fresh. If you are a fan of the Netflix series Lupin, episode 4 of season 2 has scenes in the catacombs (and the metro station!).
After leaving the catacombs, head to a one-of-a-kind church near the Montparnasse train station: the Notre-Dame du Travail. The church has a fascinating iron and wood skeleton. It was built for the working-class people who labored in train stations and factories. It was designed using iron to make them feel comfortable. An interesting fact about the church is that Napoleon III took its clock as a war trophy after the Battle of Sebastopol.
The Lion de Belfort lies close to perhaps the most confusing intersection in Paris, the Place Denfert-Rochereau. The famous copper sculpture by Auguste Bartholdi lies at the meeting point of eight Parisian streets. Auguste placed the Lion to look towards the distant Statue of Liberty, also designed by Bartholdi.
The 14th arrondissement is officially dubbed arrondissement de l’Observatoire, so naturally, the first place to visit is the Observatory of Paris. It is the world’s oldest observatory and the center for astronomy research in France. It takes two hours to tour this monument to world science, though it is closed to the public during renovations.
There’s plenty of contemporary art at the all-steel-and-glass Fondation Cartier Pour l’Art Contemporain. The museum also features a lush garden that can appeal to any nature enthusiast.
The Parc Montsouris is beautiful and off of the beaten path. The Catacombes may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they are certainly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
You see, while the 14th is not the most touristy arrondissement, it has charm and lots of things to do if you know where to look.
Great spots in the 14th arrondissement curated for you:
14eme/14th Arrondissement Restaurants
- Ayako Teppanyaki (67 rue de l’Ouest) authentic, affordable Japanese cuisine.
- Bouillon Chartier Montparnasse (59 Boulevard du Montparnasse) a traditional Parisian brasserie in an Art Nouveau setting.
- Christophe Louie – Artisan Boulanger Pâtissier (4 Place Constantin Brancusi) gourmet breads and pastries.
- Dominique Saibron (77 Av du Général Leclerc) good breads and pastries.
- Il Barone (5 rue Leopold Robert) delicious traditional Italian.
- Josselin (67 rue du Montparnasse) one of the famous creperies of the area.
- Kigawa (186 Rue du Château) French cuisine with a Japanese twist.
- L’Assiette (181 rue du Château) a classic French bistro, don’t forget to try the cassoulet!
- La Cerisaie (70 Boulevard Edgar Quinet) home-cooked gourmet French dishes.
- La Coupole (102 Bd du Montparnasse) famous brasseries for Americans and jazz.
- Le Cornichon (34 Rue Gassendi) showcases French seasonal produce with a variety of flavors.
- Le Duc (243 boulevard Raspail) a great restaurant for fish.
- Le Petit Beigneur (10 rue de la Sabliere) a retro-themed bistro with classic, homemade dishes.
- Le Relais de l’Entrecote (101 Boulevard du Montparnasse) an elegant bistro known for its tender meat and famous sauces.
- Le Severo (8 Rue des Plantes) a top-notch destination for meat lovers, requires advance booking.
- Miznon (22 Rue des Ecouffes) incredible lunch flavors, expect long lines.
14eme/14th Arrondissement Coffee + Tea Shops
- Hexagone Café (121 Rue du Château) house-blended craft coffees and warm cookies.
- il Macchiato Coffee Shop (168 Rue Raymond Losserand) solid Italian coffee.
- Workshop Geneviève (42 Rue Raymond Losserand) if you like a little painting with your coffee, check out this spot where you can get creative!
14eme/14th Arrondissement Bars
- Café Bohème (19 Bd Edgar Quinet) a colorful brunch venue with an extravagant terrace.
- Chez Jean-Claude (9 Rue Vandamme) a relaxed apéro setting with colorful Mediterranean interiors.
- Ker Beer (10 Rue Vandamme) famous for Breton craft beers.
- La Closerie des Lilas (171 Bd du Montparnasse) a favorite of Ernest Hemingway, offers fine wines, oysters and piano music.
- Le Dome (108 Boulevard du Montparnasse) also known as the Anglo-American cafe dating back to the belle epoque era.
- Maria Loca (31 Boulevard Henri IV) a relaxed bar with fun vibes.
- Rosebud (11 Bis Rue Delambre) a bistro-cocktail bar frequented by artists.
- Skybar Paris (du Pullman, 19 Rue du Commandant René Mouchotte 32ème étage) beautiful view from this rooftop terrace in the Pullman Hotel.
14eme/14th Arrondissement Parks, Museums & Things to Do
- Catacombs (1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy) miles of underground tunnels filled with bones and skulls. (check out this tour)
- Fondation Cartier (261 Blvd Raspail) is a contemporary art museum with glass on all sides surrounded by a woodland garden.
- Montparnasse Cemetery (3 Blvd Edgar Quinet) is the second-largest cemetery in Paris with some beautiful sculptures and the resting place of some of the popular artists like Baudelaire, Sartre, and Garnier.
- Montparnasse Tower (33 Av du Maine) is an office skyscraper offering panoramic views of Paris.
- Musée de la Libération de Paris (4 Av. Du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy) focuses on the history of France through the wars.
- Musée Victor Hugo (6 Place de Vosges) Maison Victor Hugo converted into a museum to hold his work and paintings.
- Paris Observatory (61 Av de l’Observatoire) is one of the largest astronomical centers in the world.
- Paroisse Notre-Dame-du-Travail (59 Rue Vercingétorix) a church from the late 1800s with industrial style iron pillars. It is well-known for its modern religious artwork.
- Philippe Auguste Wall (Rue des Jardins Saint-Paul) the longest remaining Old City Wall built around 1190.
- Place Denfert Rochereau is a public square with the Lion de Belfort symbolizing the French resistance during the Seige of Belfort.
- Port Royal Cloisters (123, Bd de Port-Royal) the 17th-century cloister with a rich and troubled history.
- Rue des Thermopyles, a beautiful cobbled street with unusual greenery in spring and summer.
- Square de Montsouris is a private cobbled street lined with houses made in Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods.
- Square Lionel Assouad (18 rue de Châtillon) open green space with a horticultural history dating back to the 19th century.
- Villa Seurat is a public cobbled street named after the painter Georges Seurat lined by buildings that were once residences of artists and writers.
14eme/14th Arrondissement Shopping
- Galleries Lafayette (10 Rue du Départ) department store.
- La Cave des Papilles (35 Rue Daguerre) an expert-selection of natural wines.
- Marché Edgar Quinet (Blvd Edgar Quinet) one of the biggest markets in Paris, is situated near the Montparnasse Tower serving cheese, fresh vegetables and fruits, and seafood.
- Rue Daguerre is a lively street market with almost everything you need to live – a bakery, a hairdresser, a tailor, grocery stores, and more.
14eme/14th Arrondissement Lodging
- Hotel Aiglon (232 Bd Raspail) modern and stylish near the Raspail Metro stop.
- Hotel Bob (30 Rue Pernety) bright and fun, and there is a hamman!
- Hotel Max (34 Rue d’Alésia) near Parc Montsouris.
- Niepce Paris Hotel (4 Rue Niépce) part of Hilton’s Curio Collection.
- Pullman Paris Montparnasse (19 Rue du Commandant René Mouchotte) I have stayed here a dozen times, it is very well-situated!
- Villa Montparnasse (2 Rue Boulard) hotel converted from a bourgeois villa.
How about you? Do you have any 14th arrondissement additions? Have you been to this area of Paris? Did you find this post helpful for a future trip?
Like it? PIN it!