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A Quick Tour Of Paris
The South-Central Arrondissements

Even a vineyard...

South-central Paris consists of three dynamic arrondissements, the thirteenth to the fifteenth. We start in the thirteenth and work our way east. Les Olympiades is a residential high-rise district built well over thirty years ago on a huge, elevated pedestrian esplanade complete with a shopping mall. The National Library of France is another resident of the new thirteenth district, transplanted from central Paris about ten years ago.

Gare Montparnasse in former Paris tourist attractions

Gare Montparnasse, lost and gone forever, but not because of this wreck.


The Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital was once a dumping ground for the Parisian poor, and the site of Princess Diana’s demise. The Butte-aux-Cailles (literally quails hill) is located in the west end of the district, not far from the very busy Place d’Italie. Its co-op restaurants, trendy bars, and nightclubs haven’t erased the village atmosphere. The Manufacture des Gobelins (Gobelins Factory) has made exceptional tapestries for centuries. Part of the complex is a museum that offers guided tours.

Hotel Royal Montparnasse Paris 14th arrondissement

Hotel Royal Montparnasse.

Some people start their tour of the fourteenth district at the famous Catacombs, Roman limestone quarries converted to burial grounds over two hundred years ago. Montparnasse was named for the home of the Greek muses to the arts and sciences. It hosts the world-famous Pasteur Institute, a leader in the fight against the AIDS virus and numerous other viruses. This neighborhood has been a major art center for centuries. It boasts numerous cafes, bars, restaurants, and nightclubs that once served the art colony.

The famous music hall Bobino is a neighborhood fixture on the Rue de la Gaité, just west of the Montparnasse Cemetery. Immerse yourself in the spirit of the times at the Montparnasse Museum. The International University City of Paris complex includes several dozen student residences. Many of its buildings were designed by famous architects including Le Corbusier who designed the Swiss and Brazilian pavilions.

The Montparnasse Tower, once Europe’s tallest building, replaced the Gare Montparnasse, one of six large Parisian railway stations where the German military governor of Paris, General von Choltitz, surrendered there to the French General Philippe Leclerc in 1944. This historic event was dramatized in the 1966 Franco-American movie Is Paris Burning? .

The fifteenth district is home to the Beehive, a weird-looking three-story circular designed by Gustave Eiffel as a temporary wine rotunda for a 1900 exposition. Former residents includes many of the greatest painters and artists of the early Twentieth Century. Aquaboulevard is Europe’s largest aquatic indoor recreational park and contains seven restaurants and a fourteen-screen movie theater on site. The giant Palais des Sports (Sports Palace) hosts hockey and basketball games as well as large-scale musicals and rock concerts. The village of Vaugirard was known for its wines, exported way back in 1453. In 1985 the Clos des Morillons vineyard in the Parc Georges Brassens was replanted with seven hundred Pinot Noir vines harvested in the late fall. The following summer you can enjoy the wine, said to be fairly good.

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About the Author

Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. His wine websites include
www.theworldwidewine.com    and    http://www.theitalianwineconnection.com

Visit his website devoted to Italian travel www.travelitalytravel.com

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