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Located between the 6th, 14th and 15th arrondissements of Paris, the Montparnasse district is less well-known for tourism than some of the other areas in Paris. And yet the areas around the train station are well worth exploring.
Got an hour free between journeys? If you’re on your way to Montparnasse train station, you don’t need to go far to make the most of what Paris has to offer. In addition to the famous Tour Montparnasse, which, at a height of 210 meters, offers one of the clearest views in the capital, you can also explore the Jardin Atlantique on the roof of the station. These gardens span more than 7 acres and can be accessed from Place des Cinq Martyrs du Lycée Buffon.
Still got some time left? Then why not take a walk around Montparnasse Cemetery, where many famous figures are buried, including Jean-Paul Sartre, Serge Gainsbourg and Simone de Beauvoir? Just a few steps from here, take a stroll along Rue de la Gaité, long-known for its many bars, open-air cafés, restaurants and theatres.
For those in even less of a hurry, keep heading south until you reach Parc Montsouris, a 37-acre English garden built at the end of the 19th century, full of interesting flora and fauna and guaranteed to make you forget the bustle of the city. In sunnier months, the park’s pavilion also hosts lots of free concerts.
Lastly, halfway between Parc Montsouris and Gare Montparnasse, on Place Denfert-Rochereau, you’ll find the entrance to a unique, mile-long underground labyrinth – the Catacombs of Paris. The tunnels of these ancient quarries are guaranteed to quench the thirst of those with a taste for the unusual. Definitely one of the more original tours available in the capital!
One of the capital’s absolute must-see landmarks, despite its unpopularity when it was first built in 1889, the Eiffel Tower is by far one of the most visited monuments in the city (and even the world)! If the idea of scaling its hundreds of steps seems a little daunting, don’t worry, you can also take a lift to the top. In either case, you’ll be rewarded for your effort with a breath-taking panoramic view of Paris! On your way up, enjoy the tower’s bars and restaurants, including the famous Jules Verne restaurant. For those in a hurry, head to Parc du Champ de Mars to admire France’s Iron Lady in a more peaceful setting.
Not far from here, on the banks of the Seine, the Musée du Quai Branly exhibits thousands of artworks dedicated to the civilizations of Asia, Africa, Oceania and the Americas. Both the museum’s collections and its architecture and gardens offer a truly original experience.
Lastly, if you can, continue exploring until you reach the Invalides district, where you’ll find lots of museums and historic buildings. These include the Hôtel des Invalides (home to the tomb of Napoleon I), its esplanade and cathedral, and the Army Museum. For art lovers, you’ll also find the famous Musée Rodin and the Musée d’Orsay.
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