The neighborhood became famous at the beginning of the 20th century when it attracted artists and writers such as Picasso, Hemingway and Fitzgerald as the heart of intellectual and artistic life in Paris. Political exiles such as Lenin and Trotsky also made the district their home, and left their mark on the area.
Today, the bohemian 14th is known for lively cafés and restaurants around the Boulevard du Montparnasse and the rue Daguerre, as well as the sprawling Cité Universitaire. There is a wealth of galleries and cinemas such as L'Entrepot lining the quaint cobblestone streets.
Built on top of the busy Montparnasse – Bienvenüe Paris Métro station, Tour Montparnasse is the tallest skyscraper in France. Its 59 floors are mainly taken up by offices, but there is a restaurant on the 56th and a terrace on the top floor with spectacular city views that are open to the public. The area is known for its traditional bistros and Breton crêperies.
One of the most colorful parks in Paris, Parc Montsouris is a large manmade lake and waterfalls surrounded by bronze statues and sloping lawns popular with students from the adjacent Cité Universitaire. An island in the middle of the lake is a sanctuary to 40 species of migratory birds such as wild ducks, geese and herons.
Open to the public, the Paris Catacombs are a network of labyrinthine tunnels that now house the remains of over 6 million burials. First excavated in the Roman period, the atmospheric dark tunnels contain neatly stacked piles of skulls and bones.