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I should have known better. Paris is always full of surprises. And the 14th arrondissement of Paris delivers.
At one time, this area of Paris was the heart of intellectual and artistic Parisian life and yet I still couldn’t seem to make exploring Paris’s 14th arrondissement a priority.
I had arrived and left the city from the train station, Gare de Paris-Montparnasse, but never spent much time in the 14th arrondissement of Paris.
Once I discovered rue des Thermopyles, Eglise Notre-Dame du Travail, and rue Daguerre, I was hooked. I jumped at the opportunity to live in the 14th arrondissement of Paris and continued my exploring. I hope you love it as much as I do.
Please note: Three of the suggestions listed below are actually in the 6th arrondissement but just on the border with the 14th arrondissement of Paris so I included them.
19 Things To Do In The 14th Arrondissement Of Paris
1. Marvel At The View From Montparnasse Tower
You can’t miss the Montparnasse Tower (le tour Montparnasse), the tallest skyscraper in Paris, which is sorely out of architectural design with the rest of the Paris skyline. But… you can take the elevator, which happens to be the fastest one in Europe, to the Panoramic Observatory of the Montparnasse Tower and find magnificent views over Paris that include the Eiffel Tower (as opposed to if you climb the Eiffel Tower!).
On the Montparnasse Observation Deck, have a flute of champagne, wait for darkness to fall and the Eiffel Tower to sparkle. The Brazilian woman near me was ecstatic when the tower lit up…”Oh my God!” she squealed over and over. The twinkling Eiffel Tower and sweeping views over Paris don’t grow old.
Tip: If you choose to go to the Montparnasse Tower in the evening, go early as there were many photography groups and lots of tripods set up waiting for the glowing lights of Paris.
Here is all the information you need for visiting the Montparnasse Tower.
2. Savour Breton Galettes In The 14th Arrondissement Of Paris
If you’re not able to hop on a train from Gare Montparnasse to Brittany, stop a while along rue d’Odessa or rue du Montparnasse at one of the many Breton crêperies. Here you will find a little taste of Brittany right in the heart of Montparnasse Paris.
Galettes, crispy, savoury and simple, are a sure-fire hit with a cup of dry Breton cider. A true Breton galette is made solely with buckwheat flour, making it a safe meal for those that are gluten sensitive.
And why is there a concentration of Breton crêperies in Montparnasse Paris? The Bretons that came to Paris to find work, arrived at Gare de Paris-Montparnasse and stayed. It’s a must to dine in one of these 14th arrondissement restaurants!
Recommended Crêperies In Paris 14:
La Crêperie Bretonne at 56 rue du Montparnasse and across the street, Crêperie le Petit Josselin at 59 rue du Montparnasse.
Métro: Edgar Quinet
3. Descend To The Catacombs In Montparnasse Paris
There is always a lineup here. This is a very popular tourist attraction in the 14th arrondissement of Paris. For me, who can at times get a bit claustrophobic, I have never ventured into the Catacombs of Paris. But.. if stacks of bones, underground labyrinths and learning about some of Paris’s history strikes your fancy, just go! Visitors have been checking out the Catacombs of Paris since 1809.
The Catacombs of Paris: Find out everything for your visit right here.
4. Search The Greats At Montparnasse Cemetery
Wandering the cemeteries in Paris is a delightful way to spend a few hours. Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris 14 is organized into blocks or divisions interspersed with roads. Grab a map, or take photos of the map at the entranceway and head off exploring. Which greats shall we meet today in the Montparnasse Cemetery?
Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir leaders in the postwar literary scene lie together. I stand here and realize I have some reading to do.
Marguerite Duras, the French novelist, has been introduced to me and I have read some of her short stories.
In the Montparnasse Cemetery, I find the resting place of Serge Gainsbourg, the French singer and composer. The steamy Je T’aime Moi Non Plus (1969) sung with Jane Birkin is unforgettable. Do you know it?
Jean Seberg, the star of the movie Breathless, is buried in Montparnasse Cemetery.
I search for a while and eventually find the final resting place of the French poet Charles Baudelaire. Sit for a while by his muse.
It’s a bit like a treasure hunt to find the resting places of illustrious Parisians in the Montparnasse Cemetery.
Métro: Denfert-Rochereau; Gaîté
5. Things To Do In The 14th Arrondissement Of Paris: Dine At La Closerie Des Lilas
It’s one of the Hemingway bars. Come for a cocktail and a meal at this mythical brasserie. The summer greenery surrounding the terrace makes La Closerie des Lilas hard to bypass.
La Closerie des Lilas 171 Blvd du Montparnasse
6. View One Of Paris’s Most Beautiful Fountains: The Four Parts Of The World
The “Four Parts of the World” Fountain, completed in 1874, is a homage to Marco Polo. In the summer, eight turtles spray the horses (reminiscent of a fountain in Bordeaux) and the four women representing the continents of Asia, Africa, Europe and America hold up a globe decorated with signs of the zodiac.
The fountain, also known as Fontaine de l’Observatoire and Fontaine Carpeaux, is found in the Jardin des Explorateurs. Sit for a while in this garden with its trimmed trees, sculptures and grassy areas.
Métro/ RER: Port-Royal
7. Relax On Esplanade Gaston-Monnerville
Down the middle of Avenue de l’Observatoire is a series of gardens.
The Jardin des Grands Explorateurs stretches into the Esplanade Gaston-Monnerville. This esplanade, also tree-lined and sculpture filled, leads to the Jardin de Luxembourg.
Look north straight to the Jardin de Luxembourg and if you turn in the other direction, there rising above the trees is the white globe of the Paris Observatory. Founded in 1667, it is one of the leading astronomical centres in the world.
L’Observatoire de Paris: It is usually closed in August, but according to their site it is currently under construction.
Métro: Start from Port-Royal or come from the Jardin du Luxembourg
8. Relive The Final Scenes Of Breathless In The 14th Arrondissement Of Paris
Right by the Raspail Métro station, painted on the sidewalk is a little reminder of the iconic movie, À Bout de Souffle (Breathless). The 1960 movie, starring Jean Seberg and Jean-Paul Belmondo, kicked off the French New Wave movement in cinematography.
The final scenes of this drama were shot in the 14th arrondissement of Paris on rue Campagne-Première, just a few steps away from this street art. On rue Campagne-Première there is a café named in honour of the film.
Jean Seberg who died tragically before her time is buried nearby in the Montparnasse Cemetery.
9. Stroll Along Rue Campagne- Première In Paris 14
It is impossible to walk down rue Campagne-Premiére in the 14th arrondissement of Paris without noticing the stunning ceramics on the building at #31 and #31bis. The building was built in 1910 to house artist studios, hence the large, stylish windows.
Do you remember that Henri Guimard, with his Art Nouveau building Castel Béranger, won the award for the most beautiful façade in the City of Paris in 1898? This building, on rue Campagne-Première, won the same award in 1911.
The ceramicist Alexandre Bigot, responsible for this showstopper, collaborated with many Parisian architects. such as Henri Guimard and André Arfvidson. He also worked with Jules Lavirotte whose unmissable façade is at 29 avenue Rapp in the 7th arrondissement.
10. Have An Apéro At La Coupole In Paris 14eme
Stepping into La Coupole you’ll know immediately what the fuss is about. This historic brasserie, which opened in 1927, is impressive. Take in the stunning columns painted by famous artists such as Chagall and Brancusi, the tables set just so and the iconic photos lining the walls of famous guests over the years.
Some of the great Parisians such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Josephine Baker used to meet here, right in Paris 14eme, to write and exchange ideas. Sigh. Take a seat and soak up some of the intellectual energy!
La Coupole: 102 Blvd de Montparnasse
11. Things To Do In The 14th Arrondissement: Amble Up Rue Des Thermopyles
If you are looking for a little bit of the country in Paris, wander up rue des Thermopyles in the 14th arrondissement. It’s a quiet oasis in a thriving city. Enjoy the greenery and cascading flowers as you wander up the street. You might wonder if you are actually still in Paris!
12. Discover Villa D’Alésia In The 14th Arrondissement Of Paris
Villa d’Alésia, in Paris 14, is lined with art deco homes and boasts the former atelier of Henri Matisse. Take your time and enjoy the architecture and be sure to sit in the lovely calm of Square Lionel-Assouad, where chances are you will not see another tourist.
13. Visit The Musée De La Libération De Paris In Paris 14
The name of this museum in the 14th arrondissement of Paris is long: Musée de la Liberation Paris Musée du général Leclerc Musée Jean Moulin. This little gem of a free museum is one that packs a wallop. The brute facts of the Paris occupation during WWII and the collaborators, the resistance, the heroes and the round-up of the Jewish families is all sobering. It is well laid out with English display boards.
Tip: Visit Colonel Rol-Tanuy’s command post during the liberation of Paris, 100 steps underground with no lift. Book your spot well in advance. There are 3-D tours available which give the sense of how the resistance movement operated in the bowels of Paris.
14. Gaze At The Nave Of Eglise Notre-Dame Du Travail
Église Notre-Dame du Travail, the Church of Our Lady of Labour, in the 14th arrondissement just doesn’t look like a typical Catholic church. At least not the interior which is reminiscent of the Eiffel Tower.
Finished in 1902, the nave of Église Notre-Dame du Travail was built of steel and iron inviting the mostly working-class residents in the area to join in worship together.
Église Notre-Dame du Travail 59 rue Vercingétorix
15. See A Show On Rue De La Gaîté In The 14th Arrondissement Of Paris
Walk up rue de la Gaîté in the 14th arrondissement of Paris. This street, Cheerfulness Road, is full of cabarets, theatres and La Comedie Italienne. Who’s up for going to see a show?
I would love to see a show here. Perhaps at the only Italian Theatre in France or at the fully restored Théâtre Montparnasse from the 1880s.
Métro: Edgar Quinet
16. Sip A Glass Of Natural Wine In Paris 14
You feel a bit like family at Bobance Bar and Cave. as the friendly owner welcomes you to sample some natural wines. The tables spill into the buzzing courtyard and the natural wines flow. Settle on your choice of wine, pair it with oysters or a delicious charcuterie board and sit back and enjoy the village feel here in the 14th arrondissement of Paris.
17. Things To Do In The 14th Arrondissement: Go Hungry To rue Daguerre
I love rue Daguerre. When I was living in the 14th arrondissement of Paris, this bustling market street was my go-to for fresh produce, fish and delicious pâtisseries. You can always count on me to know where the great pâtisseries are. On rue Daguerre, you’ll find an Aux Merveilleux de Fred and a Maison Thevenin which happens to have “to die for” florentines!
Stroll awhile, fill your basket and then stop for a coffee at one of the cafés.
18. Visit Parc Montsouris In The 14th Arrondissment Of Paris
Parc Montsouris was my lifeline during confinement in November 2020. Luckily it was within (just barely) the one-kilometre limit that we were allowed to roam.
It’s a beautiful park where you’ll find a lake, joggers, stunning trees, beehives, a water station with carbonated water, and a meteorological observatory. This typical Parisian park, in the 14th arrondissement, was inaugurated in 1875 and is one of Paris’s largest parks. If you are looking to find a truly Parisian experience, spend a while in Parc Montsouris.
19. Sip Coffee At The Hexagone Café In Paris 14
Did you know that France is often referred to as “La Hexagone” much as Italy is referred to as “the Boot.” Stop by this minimalist café, the Hexagone Café, in Paris 14eme and have an excellent latte. It’s the perfect place to come with a friend, a book, or a journal as there is no wifi!
I hope you love my list of what to do in the 14th arrondissement of Paris. What will you do first in the 14ème arrondissement?
Until next time,