Montparnasse of the 1920s was the center for expatriate artists and intellectuals in Paris, with cafes, salons and artist communes. Cafes frequented by Hemingway and Picasso -- La Closerie des Lilas, La Coupole and Le Sélect -- still line the boulevard du Montparnasse, while fast TGV trains speed south from the Gare de Montparnasse. The Tour Montparnasse, the tallest building in Paris, throws its shadow across the Montparnasse Cemetery. Hotels are plentiful here, with something to fit every taste.
On the Cheap
Clean, charming and well under 100 euros for two, the Hôtel de la Paix is a small, friendly Victorian with functional air-conditioned rooms, a bar lounge and Wi-Fi. Near the Tour Montparnasse, it is run by a friendly, helpful, English-speaking staff, and the entire atmosphere is relaxed and comfortable. Another bargain is the two-star Hôtel Central, if the slightly seedy outside doesn't stop you. The rooms are clean, safe and comfortable, if no-frills, and you can't beat the price or location. No air conditioning for hot summer nights, however.
The Hôtel Elysée Montparnasse is a mid-size art Deco hotel only a four-minute walk from the train station. It offers reasonably priced family rooms, composed of two joined rooms and two bathrooms. Breakfast is included. Or try the Hôtel Novotel, also close to the Gare de Montparnasse, which offers the slick comfort of a well-kept chain hotel. Although lacking charm, its policy of allowing kids under 16 free accommodation and breakfast may be tempting to parents.
Hôtel Jardin le Brea is an intimate but sophisticated hotel with designer elegance and French charm. Recently renovated, its 23 rooms are tastefully decorated and offer air conditioning, flat-screen televisions and electronic safes. The breakfast room has an arched, stone roof. Or book a junior suite at the Lenox Montparnasse and enjoy antique furniture, marble bathrooms and flowers on the balcony. The Lenox is nicely located between the Jardin du Luxenbourg and the famous Montparnasse Cemetery.
If you are planning an extended stay in Montparnasse, the BridgeStreet Montparnasse in central Montparnasse offers 16 apartment-style light and modern accommodations in a lovely period-style building. Apartments include a spacious bedroom, private bathroom and fully equipped kitchen, including dishwasher and washing machine. The living area offers cable TV, DVD player, direct-dial phone and high-speed Internet access. A studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments are available.