Paris 14th District

Paris 14th District is located in the Rive Gauche and is commonly known as Quartier de l’Observatoire.

Paris 14th district - Cafe
Paris 14th district – Cafe

It was born from the merging of the villages of Montsouris, Montrouge and Plaisance.

Modern day Paris 14th District includes:

Quartier Montparnasse, Quartier du Parc Montsouris, Quartier du Petit Montrouge and Quartier de Plaisance.

Paris 14th district is (along with the Latin Quarter in the 5th district) the only area of the left bank that has been inhabited since the Gallo-Roman era.

The road that linked antic Paris to Rome indeed traversed it.

This road later became the main route used by the pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela.

Countless hospices and religious establishments were therefore built along the road in order to serve the pilgrims who set off from St-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie Church – St-Jacques Tower.

This road was also the road the French troops and their allies followed at the liberation of Paris at the end of WWII.

It was consequently renamed Avenue du Général-Leclerc.

The rich alluvial land of Southern Paris was traditionally devoted to cereal crops.

This triggered the development of a thriving milling activity that survived until the 20th century.

Over 60 windmills once stood in this region!

The exploitation of plaster and tiles in the local quarries largely contributed to its development.

The vast urban transformations commissioned by Louis XIV during the 17th century defined the layout of Paris 14th District.

The king indeed created the Boulevards du Midi (the counterpart to the Grands Boulevards on the right bank).

The aqueduct of Arcueil, Sainte-Anne hospital and the Observatory were also built.

The foundation of several humanitarian institutions such as the Cochin hospital and La Rochefoucault hospice largely contributed to the development of the district during the 18th century.

The fiscal Mur des Fermiers Généraux defined the district’s eastern and northern boundaries at the end of the same century.

The vicinity of the toll gates attracted various establishments dedicated to the night life and entertainment.

Haussmann re-designed Paris 14th District by opening large avenues bordered with trees and public gardens and rebuilt Sainte-Anne hospital.

The Catacombes, Paris’ underground necropolis, was created in the late 19th century and the Cimetière Montparnasse was one of the four cemeteries developed in the outskirts of Paris.

During the interwar the Quartier Montparnasse attracted the intelligentsia and Nouvelle Vague artists.

These indeed deserted the Bateau-Lavoir in Montmartre to settle down in La Ruche.

Montparnasse already contrasted with the quiet and bourgeois Quartier Montsouris.

The elegant Parc Montsouris was developed during Haussmann’s urban work.

Paris 14th District is today fully dedicated to the small industry and crafts.

It has, however, retained its bohemian atmosphere.

It indeed boasts many artist studios or residences and the international Cité Universitaire.

The physiognomy of the district started to evolve dramatically in the 1970s.

It indeed became the place of experiment for contemporary urbanization!

The controversy appeared with the redevelopment of Maine-Montparnasse train station and its ‘ugly’ tower.

This urbanization included also the creation of the Place de Catalogne, Echelles du Baroque and Coulée Verte along Rue Vercingétorix.

Metro stations serving Paris 14th District

Line 4: Montparnasse-Bienvenüe, Vavin, Raspail, Denfert-Rochereau, Mouton-Duvernet, Alésia, Porte d’Orléans
Line 6: Montparnasse-Bienvenüe, Edgar Quinet, Raspail, Denfert-Rochereau, St-Jacques
Line 13: Montparnasse-Bienvenüe, Gaîtée, Pernety, Plaisance, Porte de Vanves
RER B: Denfert-Rochereau, Cité Universitaire

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