Explore Paris’s 14th arrondissement

Culture, heritage, green spaces and shops are the main assets of the districts with a village feel in the 14th

The 14th has some districts that have retained an authentic village feel over time. A varied cultural offer, a rich historic heritage and large green spaces are the main assets of this vibrant, family-friendly arrondissement.

An arrondissement with a rich cultural heritage

Paris’s history was partly written in the 14th. The numerous monuments dotting the arrondissement are proof of its eventful past.

The Paris Catacombs are a must-see, and one of the most unusual places in the capital. This 11,000-m² ossuary brings together six million skeletons from different cemeteries in Paris. It is a 1.7 km-long maze. Housed since 2019 in the Pavillons Ledoux on Place Denfert-Rochereau, le Musée de la Libération de Paris – Musée du Général Leclerc – Musée Jean Moulin is devoted to two historic French figures from the Second World War, Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque and Jean Moulin, and to the liberation of Paris.

A short distance from here is the Paris Observatory, devoted since its creation in 1667 to astronomy. It is the world’s oldest observatory still in use. It is now a centre for research, teaching and the transmission of knowledge to the general public.

The leafy Montparnasse cemetery located on a site once occupied by three farms still has a remnant of its agricultural past – the Moulin de la Charité. It is a vestige of the thirty-odd flour mills that once stood on the Plaine de Montrouge. The cemetery houses the tombs of famous men and women such as Charles Baudelaire, Guy de Maupassant, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Charles Garnier.

The 14th arrondissement has always been very popular with artists and craftspeople. The painters Pablo Picasso and Yves Klein, the muse and model Kiki de Montparnasse, the photographers Man-Ray and Eugène Atget and many others made it their stamping ground. Many artists chose to live and set up their workshops here, particularly in Rue Campagne Première, Rue Delambre and Rue Cassini and the two artists’ communities Villa d’Alésia and Villa Seurat. The carefree group were regulars by day and by night during the heyday of the famous brasseries La Coupole and Le Dôme. The Allée du Château Ouvrier is lined even today with artists’ studios. It was in Alésia that the painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti set up his small studio. In a nod to his beginnings, the Institut Giacometti has recreated his studio in a beautiful townhouse a few minutes from the original location and organizes temporary exhibitions in connection with his œuvre.

On Boulevard Raspail, contemporary art is in the spotlight at the Fondation Cartier, housed in an amazing transparent, light-filled building designed by the architect Jean Nouvel. Besides its permanent collection comprising 2,000 artworks, the museum organizes temporary exhibitions and performing arts shows.

Another place devoted to culture is the 14th arrondissement’s 1930s style town hall with its bas-reliefs and stained-glass window. It hosts temporary exhibitions and art fairs throughout the year. The Maison des Pratiques Artistiques Amateurs, an organization supporting amateur artists located in the former boiler room of the Broussais hospital, makes art accessible to all. It is a space for creative expression. A dance studio, theatre, artists’ studio and exhibition area rolled into one, it is open to amateur practitioners of graphic and visual arts.

The 14th also provides fertile ground for the performing arts, with several theatres and show venues located for the most part in the lively area around the Tour Montparnasse. Rue de la Gaîté alone has the Théâtre de la Gaîté Montparnasse, where Maurice Chevalier and Juliette Gréco made their debuts, the Théâtre Rive Gauche, the Théâtre Montparnasse and the Petit Montparnasse, the Comédie Italienne and Bobino. On the outer edge of the 14th, the Théâtre 14, which was renovated in 2020, is run by a young team who are giving fresh impetus to theatrical creation.

An arrondissement with a pleasant village feel

Many people are drawn to the atmosphere and hidden treasures of districts in the 14th with a village feel such as Petit Montrouge, Pernety, Plaisance and Montsouris.

Narrow little streets lined with charming houses with colourful window shutters and pretty courtyards filled with plants and flowers, such as the Impasse du Moulin Vert, the Villa Hallé, Rue des Thermopyles, the Cité Bauer, Villa Adrienne and the hidden courtyard of 44 Rue de l’Ouest, give the arrondissement the feel of a picturesque small town. Place Flora Tristan with its centenary trees is a hub of local life and a delightful place to sit and enjoy a drink on a terrace.

In the southern section around Montparnasse and Plaisance, gourmets shop for fresh produce at the Brancusi organic market and the Brune market and indulge their sweet tooth at Paradis Gourmand. Good restaurants are plentiful in the 14th arrondissement. Don’t miss the innovative cuisine at MoSuke by the chef Mory Sacko, the specialities of the restaurant A Mi-Chemin and the numerous crêperies on Rue d’Odessa, Paris’s Little Brittany.

As for shopping, the bustling Rue Daguerre and Rue Raymond Losserand, which run through the 14th, have many food shops, florists, restaurants and bistros with outdoor terraces. Art lovers will enjoy browsing the artworks on show at the Marché Parisien de la Création every Sunday on Boulevard Edgar Quinet. Paintings, engravings, sculpture, photographs, collages, pottery, silk painting and other forms of art are on display. And if you are keen on ethical shopping, head to Rue Prevost Paradol near the Porte de Vanves where you will find many eco-friendly and charity shops.

There are many surprising discoveries to be made in the arrondissement, among them the exposed metal girders of the Notre-Dame-du-Travail church on Rue Vercingétorix; the art deco façades and famous bow windows of the buildings on Rue Louis Morard, and the Villa Reille, the home and workshop of the painter Amédée Ozenfant designed by the famous architect Le Corbusier.

Fabrique Bohême on Rue de l’Ouest is a co-working space for those who wish to work in the peaceful village atmosphere of the area.

An arrondissement where you’re close to nature

Boasting a number of green spaces, the 14th arrondissement is a good place to be close to nature in the heart of the city.

In the south, Parc Montsouris built by Napoléon III in 1869, is a 15-hectare expanse of lawns and groves. There are thousands of hundred-year-old trees. The park also has an artificial lake inhabited by swans and ducks, much to the delight of people out for a walk. The puppet theatre, play areas and merry-go-rounds are popular with children.

Across from the park, the Cité Universitaire, an international university campus, has 35 hectares of green space that are open to the general public. It is a vast green setting for 40 residences with different types of architecture inspired by styles from around the world. Two of the buildings were designed by Le Corbusier: Brazil House and the Fondation Suisse. Guided tours are organized on a regular basis. An unusual place where you can go around the world without leaving Paris.

An even more unusual place to explore is the Petite Ceinture. A former railway line now overtaken by dense vegetation, it is a pleasant place for a walk. It can be reached from 124 Avenue du Général Leclerc behind the restaurant Le Poinçon housed in one of the abandoned stations, or across from 96 bis Rue Didot.