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The 15th district is very similar to the 14th district: a quiet residential district, maybe a little more bourgeois, plus the Montparnasse area.

It's the most populated district in Paris with 225,362 inhabitants in 1990, which would make it one of 10 or 15 biggest towns in France. It's also the largest (8.50 km2) if you don't count Bois de Boulogne in the 16th district and Bois de Vincennes in the 12th district. I'm sure that what you really want is the map. So here it is:

                       7th                      6th
       |~|  avenue de Suffren             --'  Tour
       |~|------------------------------.'  Montparnasse
       -~|                      _____---' ,'   Gare            
       |~-           _____-----'         '  Montparnasse    
       |~|`-___-----'                  ,'       ||             
       |~|                            /         ||             
       | |                           /          ||             
       |S|                          /           ||             
       |e|                         /            ||             
       |i|Front                   /             ||             
       |n|                      r/              ||             
 16th  |e| de                   /               ||     14th
       | |                     V|               ||             
       |~|Seine               a/                ||             
       |~|                    u|                ||             
       |~|                   g/                 ||             
       |~|                   i|                 ||             
       |~|                  r|                  ||             
       |~|                 a/                   ||             
       |~|A-Citroën        r|       Georges     ||             
       |~|                d'        Brassens    ||             
       |~|                 |                    ||             
           Issy-les-M              Vanves

The top direction is north-east. Everything in italics is located outside the district.


See the 14th district for a description of the eastern part of Montparnasse. Here I won't talk about artists and theaters, but about two monsters.

The first monster is the Montparnasse building, a 200m black tower. Its height, which would go unnoticed in other parts of the Earth, stands out in a town where most buildings have 7 floors or less. It's the highest building in France, and the second highest structure after you know what. The view from the terrace is at least as good as the view from the Eiffel Tower while being less expensive and less crowded. The building hosts offices, and I have been working there for three years, but you don't really care.

The second monster is the Montparnasse train and metro station, just facing the tower. You need to go there if you want to go to west or southwest of France. Its architecture is modern and rather ugly. The shapes may be nice, but they should really cover the concrete pillars with something more friendly.


The most interesting part in the Montparnasse train station is a garden hidden above it. Many people have been living or working in the area without ever hearing about it. You need to go for example to the station main hall and find stairs which go up to the Jardin Atlantique. It's one of these innovative gardens created in Paris during the 80s and 90s with many little isolated spots and oddities.

South of the station, not far from the railway which separates the 15th district from the 14th district, the Georges-Brassens park is a pleasant park with a water pond and a hill. Every week-end it hosts a very important book market, a must-see for all book lovers.

One more garden, and the most interesting one, is Jardin André-Citroën. It was created along the Seine where Citroën used to build his cars. While Georges-Brassens is quite traditional, this one is one of the most modern gardens in Paris. Around a very large lawn, small thematic alleys and greenhouses make for unexpected walks.


North of Jardin André-Citroën, along the Seine, the Front-de-Seine area applies Le Corbusier' s terrifying ideas about urbanism: 30-storey buildings above a lifeless esplanade suspended above dark streets. The problem with this kind of esplanade, which was supposed to free the pedestrian from the dangers and inconvenience of the street, is that it's too separated from the rest of the city, and that you can get lost when you walk between the buildings without being guided by the simple lines of the street networks. One of Le Corbusier's craziest ideas was to replace most of Paris with this kind of concrete desert.


Between Jardin André-Citroën and Front-de-Seine, you can cross the Seine on Pont Mirabeau with its gigantic statues against the pillars. American tourists come to this bridge to take a picture of the Statue of Liberty in front of the Eiffel Tower. Not the Statue of Liberty in New York, but a smaller replica on the Ile des Cygnes (Isle of Swans). French people know this bridge because the Seine flows under it. Ok, the Seine flows under all the bridges in Paris, but everybody in France would understand that I'm thinking of Apollinaire:

Sous le pont Mirabeau coule la Seine
Et nos amours
Faut-il qu'il m'en souvienne
La joie venait toujours après la peine

Vienne la nuit sonne l'heure
Les jours s'en vont je demeure
Under the Mirabeau Bridge there flows the Seine
Must I recall
Our loves recall how then
After each sorrow joy came back again

Let night come on bells end the day
The days go by me still I stay

Guillaume Apollinaire, translation Richard Wilbur

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