Montparnasse - What to do Before Train?

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Jun 17th, 2008, 10:24 PM
  #1
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Montparnasse - What to do Before Train?

In a few weeks, my husband is arriving in Paris and is scheduled to meet up with me (I'll be there already) in the early morning on a Saturday at the Gare Montparnasse before our noon train to Bordeaux. We may have several hours to kill before our train. I expect we would store our bags at the consigne in the station and be able to stroll around the neighborhood. Are there any hidden gems in this neighborhood, within walking distance? Nothing I know of jumps out as a must-see, and we will be returning to Paris to visit the usual suspects later in the trip. If anyone's got a suggestion, we'd love to explore it! Any Sat. a.m. markets? Merci!
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Jun 17th, 2008, 10:36 PM
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Well - two of the nearest/most obvious things -- go to the top of the Montparnasse Tower for the most amazing views of all of Paris. There is a restaurant and cafe and outdoor observation deck.

- or visit Montparnasse Cemetery. Among those buried there are Samuel Becket, Jean-Paul Sartre & Simone de Beauvoir, Jean Seberg, Guy de Maupassant and Frédéric Auguste Barthold
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Jun 17th, 2008, 10:46 PM
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http://www.museedumontparnasse.net/english.html
The Musee du Montparnasse sometimes has nice exhibitions - it's a tiny museum....check it out for your dates...

Enjoy!
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Jun 18th, 2008, 03:38 AM
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I don't remember a market, but there is a shopping center/mall attached to the station.

Lots of places to eat in both directions, some famous toward Luxembourg Gardens (actually an easy walk).
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Jun 18th, 2008, 03:42 AM
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On Saturdays, there is a market on the Boulevard Edgar Quinet, just outside the station. And across the street from the market is the Montparnasse cemetery.
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Jun 18th, 2008, 04:41 AM
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The postal museum to the right of the Montparnasse station (when you are facing it) is a lot more interesting than a lot of people might imagine -- and you definitely won't be trampled by the usual tourists there.
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Jun 18th, 2008, 05:24 AM
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Agree with the post museum, especially if you like stamps. There's an entire room of them and they're quite beautiful.

If you like sculpture then the Antoine Bourdelle museum is lovely and small.
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Jun 18th, 2008, 10:54 AM
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The Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson is worth a visit. The is a Saul Steinberg exhibition there at the moment:

Drawings, collages and caricatures by The New Yorker’s great cartoonist, humorist and philosopher, who described himself as “a writer who draws”.

€6 Through July 27
Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson,
2 impasse Lebouis, 14th,
Métro: Gaîté.
01.56.80.27.00. www.henricartierbresson.org

This is not the same as the Fondation Cartier, which has excellent exhibitions of contemporary art. It is located on Blvd. Raspail, just past the Montparnasse cemetery.

I enjoy people watching from one of the cafes on the Place Edgar Quinet, and there's a market along the boulevard on Saturdays.
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Jun 18th, 2008, 11:19 AM
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All good suggestions above (except the indoor shopping mall by the station - the stores along Blvd. Montparnasse are a better bet if you are a shopping mood).

Here's another option:

http://www.paris.fr/portail/Culture/...t?page_id=6408

Also, here's one self-guided walk:

http://www.millerwalks.com/montparnasse/ (the train staion is the circled "M" under the lowercase 'b' of boulevard du Montparnasse)

And another:

http://www.secretsofparis.com/montparnasse-district/
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Jun 18th, 2008, 12:06 PM
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Outstanding suggestions, some of which I didn't find at all when researching this topic on my own. It's easy to overlook parts of Paris like this when the more famous attractions demand your attention, but the payoff is phenominal! I would really love to check out the Saul Steinberg exhibit if time permits. The info on the market is also what I was looking for - we need to pick up some fruit and snacks for the train ride! Merci encore!
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Jun 18th, 2008, 12:18 PM
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Just past the cemetery along Rue Froidevaux are the Catacombs, an underground ossuary where thousands of people were relocated from graveyards to make room for expansion of the city. Here's the Google map:

http://tinyurl.com/63uead

Note: some climbing up and down steep stairways and ladders required.
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Jun 18th, 2008, 12:40 PM
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Musee Bourdelle - garden with sculptures, gallery, artist apartment and sometimes an outside artist exhibit. This is on a side street at the foot of the Tour Montparnasse.
http://www.frommers.com/destinations/paris/A25320.html
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Jun 18th, 2008, 12:44 PM
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Also the Rue Daguerre, on the far side of the Montparnasse Cemetery; a pedestrian shopping street, with the makings for a picnic lunch on the train.
http://tinyurl.com/5lscgq
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Jun 18th, 2008, 01:08 PM
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Museum of the WWII resistance just behind the Montparnasse station: http://www.museums-of-paris.com/musee_en.php?code=308

We had hoped to visit it while there a few weeks ago, but it seemed to be closed.
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Jun 18th, 2008, 01:35 PM
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There's a museum devoted to the resistance and jean moulin and a very pretty garden atop the Montparnasse station. There's an elevator right outside the station that takes you up
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Jun 18th, 2008, 01:40 PM
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You're going to make them miss their train.

Not a bad thing since Bordeaux is one of the most boring cities in France.
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Jun 18th, 2008, 02:20 PM
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No kidding, Kerouac! There really hasn't been any suggestion for a museum or location that I wouldn't mind poking my head into - who knew Montparnasse had so much to offer? But n'inquietez-vous pas... Bordeaux isn't our final destination, just the jumping-off point for a week in Dordogne!
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Jun 18th, 2008, 02:31 PM
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"Ouf!" -- comme on dit en France.
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Jul 3rd, 2008, 02:16 PM
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Glad you asked the question tekwriter! Hub and I will be staying in Montparnasse in Sept.
Sorry to be too lazy to look this up, but how long is the train ride to Bordeaux?
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