Word of warning: the following arrondissement may induce heart palpitations. Well, unless you are a serial killer or work in the morgue (you don’t have to answer which one is it). Why? Nested in the 14th, you’ll find the Catacombs – an underground labyrinth filled from top to bottom and as far back as the eye can see with skulls and bones. And, on top of this, someone thought it would be fun to stack these human remains into pretty patterns, but hey, to each their own, right? In keeping with the macabre theme, head towards Montparnasse Cemetery, where you’ll be able to pay your respects to some of history’s greatest writers and philosophers. Think Edgar Quinet, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Simone de Beauvoir. You don’t fancy dead people? Too bad. Apart from that, 14th is predominantly shopping streets and a large urban park that’s frequented by families and young Parisians looking to picnic, exercise, and hug trees (we wish we were kidding with this one). Yaaaawn.
This quarter, straddling the 6th and 15th arrondissements, is a continuation of the commercial mix of shopping, movie theaters, crêperies and bistros found by Tour Montparnasse (check out the 15th arrondissement for more details on this Parisian eyesore). The cemetery is here, and perhaps you can try and absorb via osmosis the intellect of those, whose final resting ground is the Montparnasse Cemetery.
Alesia is a residential area where you’ll come across families and the elderly. So, to cater to this cross-section of Parisian residents, there are the usual chain stores and supermarkets. If you head towards Rue Daguerre, however, you’ll get a more dynamic vibe, as the street is flanked by butchers, greengrocers, fishmongers, and other market-type vendors. Of course, the main attraction of this quarter is the Catacombs, where the remains of more than six million humans call this maze of former stone quarries ‘home’.
If you’re around the area, come here for a bit of greenery as Parc Montsouris is one of Paris’ green lungs. For the adventurous who’ve read the Da Vinci Code, pretend you’re being chased by some sort of religious institution (of your choice) and see if you can spot the medallions that mark where the old longitudinal meridian used to be (before, sadly, it was moved to Greenwich). You’ll find a fair bit of youth chilling around, as the park is close to a university student accommodation. Other than that, there’s nothing of note.