Montparnasse

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Montparnasse is an area of Paris, France, on the left bank of the river Seine, centred at the crossroads of the Boulevard du Montparnasse and the Rue de Rennes, between the Rue de Rennes and boulevard Raspail. Montparnasse was absorbed into the capital's 6th and 14th arrondissements in 1860.

The area also gives its name to:

The Pasteur Institute is located in the area. Beneath the ground are tunnels of the Catacombs of Paris.

The name Montparnasse stems from the nickname "Mount Parnassus" (In Greek mythology, home to the nine Greek goddesses – the Muses – of the arts and sciences) given to the hilly neighbourhood in the 17th century by students who came there to recite poetry.

The hill was levelled to construct the Boulevard Montparnasse in the 18th century. During the French Revolution many dance halls and cabarets opened their doors.

The area is also known for cafes and bars, such as the Breton restaurants specialising in crêpes (thin pancakes) located a few blocks from the Gare Montparnasse.

Contents

Artistic Montparnasse

Like its counterpart Montmartre, Montparnasse became famous at the beginning of the 20th century, referred to as les Années Folles (the Crazy Years), when it was the heart of intellectual and artistic life in Paris. From 1910 to the start of World War II, Paris' artistic circles migrated to Montparnasse, an alternative to the Montmartre district which had been the intellectual breeding ground for the previous generation of artists. The Paris of Zola, Manet, France, Degas, Fauré, a group that had assembled more on the basis of status affinity than actual artistic tastes, indulging in the refinements of Dandyism, was at the opposite end of the economic, social, and political spectrum from the gritty, tough-talking, die-hard, emigrant artists that peopled Montparnasse.

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