Our guide Stephanie gives us the scoop on what makes the neighborhood she calls home a must-see for Paris visitors.
The 15th is Paris’ largest arrondissement in both area and population. As part of the Montparnasse district, its been a center of invention throughout the city’s history.
The neighborhood’s pioneering claims to fame range from being the site of Louis Pasteur’s laboratories and Citroën’s manufacturing plants, to the celebrated Cordon Bleu culinary institute. The area near the Montparnasse train station began to teem with artist studios when the avant garde moved south from Montmartre after World War I. Today this innovative neighborhood offers exceptional cultural and cuisine excursions for the adventurous visitor.
Paris Balloon (Ballon de Paris)
Parc André Citroën, 2 Rue Cauchy
Hot air balloons were invented in France in 1783, and what better place to give one a whirl than Paris? The tethered helium-filled balloon at Parc André Citroën gently ascends close to 500 feet to offer a panoramic view of the capital. This is a big hit for kids and parents alike. Be sure to check the website before heading to the park, as flights are subject to wind conditions.
The Tour Montparnasse
33 Avenue du Maine
Another place to catch that perfect Paris photo is from the top of the city’s first skyscraper. The Tour Montparnasse opened in 1973 and continues to offer unbeatable 360 degree views of the Paris skyline. The 15th district remains at the helm of architectural innovation (and controversy) as work begins on the Tour Triangle by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron. This 590 feet tall glass pyramid will be located near the expo center, Parc des Expositions de la Porte de Versailles.
The Louis Pasteur Museum
25-28 Rue du Docteur Roux
Scientists–and aspiring scientists–should not miss the museum of Louis Pasteur (1822-1895), in the world-famous Pasteur Institute. Step back in time to see Pasteur’s laboratory where the founder of microbiology unlocked the mysteries of viruses and bacteria. The museum is open Monday to Friday with tours at 2:00 pm, 3:00 pm, and 4:00 pm. These tours also includes his 19th-century apartments and a Byzantine-style crypt, the final resting place of the scientist and his wife.
Bourdelle Museum (Musée Bourdelle)
16-18 Rue Antoine Bourdelle
A short walk west of the Pasteur Institute takes you to the studio of another great innovator: the sculptor Antoine Bourdelle (1869-1929). This beautifully curated museum features Bourdelle’s monumental bronze and marble works in the artist’s original studio space, making you feel as if the sculptor himself could walk in anytime. A visit here (free admission!) is a perfect complement to our Rodin: The Man and His Monuments tour, as Bourdelle studied with Rodin before staking out his own distinctive style.
Where to eat:
15 Rue Desnouettes
+33 1 48 42 95 90
For a relaxing lunch or dinner, don’t miss this charming small restaurant featuring Basque cuisine from southwest France. Recently featured in the French guide ‘Le Fooding,’ their tasting menus offer a true culinary adventure.
Le Beurre-Noisette (Reservations required)
68 Rue Vasco de Gama
+33 1 48 56 82 49
Le Beurre-Noisette is one of the hidden gems of the 15th. Lunch or dinner at this Michelin-selected restaurant will help you feel like a Parisian local.
Aux Merveilleux de Fred
129 bis Rue Saint Charles
For a sweet treat, make a detour to this celebrated pastry shop that specializes in delightful creamy meringues.