Let us imagine that you’ve visited the Tour Montparnasse, which does offer a pretty spectacular view of Paris (it is otherwise a rather uninteresting building, whose main claim to fame is that it created somewhat of a scandal when it was built, as it was the first skyscraper in Paris, and building it required tearing down what were considered to be quaint neighborhoods). Be that as it may, where will you go from there? As you know, I think visiting cemeteries is an interesting way to learn about the history and culture of Paris (see above) and the Cimetiere de Montparnasse, 3 boulevard Edgar-Quinet, Paris 14, Metro Edgar-Quinet (Line 6) is not too far away. But much closer to the Tour Montparnasse is the avenue du Maine, which at first glance looks like another uninteresting thoroughfare.
However, if you go to number 21 avenue du Maine, Paris 15, Metro: Falguiere (Line 12), Montparnasse (Lines 4,6,12,13) you will be in for a treat: Chemin du Montparnasse. Sandwiched between a service station and a cabaret, this is a cobble-stoned alley bordered by greenery and artists’ ateliers that were built from construction materials from the 1900 Exposition Universelle (World Fair). During WW I the Russian painter Marie Vassilieff opened an “artists cantine” in her atelier, where all the penniless artists would come for a meal – Picasso, Modigliani, Leger, Cendrars, Max Jacob, Cocteau, Matisse, Zadkine. Today this atelier has been transformed into the Musee de Montparnasse, at the end of the alley. One of the permanent collections consists of the work of the Polish-Brazilian artist Frans Krajcberg, who uses burnt trees as part of his work.