Visit Montparnasse and the Golden Age of Paris
Today, the district of Montparnasse is embodied by the bold, tall Tour Montparnasse and one of the busiest train stations in the French Capital City. At the beginning of the 20th century though, it was the epicentre of an artistic and intellectual life that was as dynamic as it was talented. On your private walking tour of Montparnasse, you will:
- Immerse yourself in the Golden Age of Paris in the 1920’s with a private guide.
- Enjoy the buzzing pace amongst locals, and see the way the neighbourhood has evolved more than a century after the Roaring 20’s.
- Walk amongst the stories of late nights of endless champagne and dancing, as you hear about Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Picasso, and Miller at home in Montparnasse.
- Visit the Montparnasse Cemetery, where Sartre is buried and see notable sights of the 14th arrondissement, including the Fondation Cartier.
Still flying under the tourist radar, this district of the Left Bank was the former home of numerous French and expatriate artists who ingeniously put into practice the free-spirited buzz of the Roaring Twenties, that some today still compare to a certain “French art de vivre”!
In the aftermath of the First World War, the 1920s saw the arrival of a generation of artists who came from Montmartre in search of cheap studios. Modigliani, Zadkine, Soutine, Chagall and many others formed what came to be known as the “École de Paris” – a group of artists rather than a real artistic movement. Later on, the district welcomed other creative minds in search of an affordable roof over their heads and, above all, a living and partying environment to match their thirst for life.
The four traditional brasseries on Boulevard Montparnasse, whose names have now become legendary –Le Dôme, La Rotonde, Le Select and La Coupole– have long enlivened the Parisian nightlife with the innovative sounds of jazz and the exotic rhythms of the Bal nègre, where the dazzling Joséphine Baker captured the spotlight. The Closerie des Lilas was also part of this closed club of prestigious places, where the most illustrious names, such as James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Man Ray, Foujita, Pablo Picasso and Henry Miller, danced and twirled until the early hours!
But the modernisation of the district has not put an end to its artistic life, far from it! Young students from all over the world still attend the historical art academy of the rue Grande Chaumière. And the Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, an exhibition centre for contemporary art and culture, opened its doors in 1994 in a unique glass and steel building by architect Jean Nouvel.
Take a walk through the legendary district, punctuated by bucolic alleys, hidden workshops, avant-garde cinemas and popular theatres, and where life was everything but boring!