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Local Matters / Changing Landscape

Paris’ Montparnasse neighborhood to get a facelift

Boulevard du Montparnasse and Rue de Rennes.

The Montparnasse neighborhood of Paris will undergo a major transformation by 2020, by way of a series of major urban renewal projects slated to begin early next year.

‘We need to re-humanize the face of the neighborhood,’ said Jean-Louis Missika, the deputy mayor in charge of urban planning, as reported in Le Journal du Dimanche.

Montparnasse is a typical Parisian neighborhood at the intersection of the 6th, 14th and 15th arrondissements. The area is favored by couples and young families for its tree-lined streets, colorful open-air markets and authentic cafés that were once frequented by Paris’ beloved literary and artistic heroes (think Picasso).It remains a lively neighborhood of theaters, cinemas and some of Paris’ most famous restaurants, like La Coupole, La Closerie des Lilas and Le Dôme on boulevard du Montparnasse. Scattered throughout are the lesser-known gems like the Zadkine Museum on the rue d’Assas, dedicated to the graceful works of the Russian émigré sculptor, Ossip Zadkine.

Extensive construction took place in the western part of the neighborhood during the 1960s and 70s. This includes the Montparnasse Tower, which is almost universally unpopular. The train station and the office buildings surrounding it are also badly in need of refreshing.

The first phase of the project will focus on the avenue du Maine, with plans to either fill in or reduce its road tunnel and turn unsightly parking lots into green spaces. Another green space will be created along the center of the rue du Commandant-Mouchotte.

On the other side of the Montparnasse Tower, City Hall plans to transform the Place du 18 Juin 1940 into ‘Paris’ Times Square,’ as Missika put it.

Paris_place_du_18_juin

The Gaîté shopping center will be completely rebuilt, with three times its current surface area. The 32-story Hotel Pullman nearby will also be completely renovated.

It’s said of the Montparnasse Tower that it offers the best view of Paris because you can’t see it when you’re at the top. A complete renovation is in the cards, including re-facing its façade.

To complete the metamorphosis, the Montparnasse train station is earmarked for a substantial makeover. Multi Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse will open a restaurant there in 2017.

The planned improvements are likely to enhance in the neighborhood. Average real estate prices in the Montparnasse section of the 14th arrondissement already increased by 4.1% during 2014 to €9,760/m2, according to the latest official figures. Expect to pay more as you wander north to the 6th arrondissement.

Read more about planned changes to the Paris landscape:

The emblematic post office building near the Louvre is to be redeveloped

Paris’ Arche de la Défense to undergo a major renovation

Low rise Paris, a city center with few skyscrapers

Montmartre: a village within a city with some hidden gems

 

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