The Infernal Square...
At the heart of the neighborhood, the vast Denfert-Rochereau Square, formerly known as "Place d'enfer" (Hell Square), and its colossal Lion of Belfort pay tribute to the bravery demonstrated by the Alsatians during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. Serving as the starting point or destination of numerous public events in Paris, beautifully adorned with trees and surrounded by three green spaces - Square Claude-Nicolas-Ledoux, Square de l'Abbé-Migne, and Square Jacques-Antoine - the square stands as one of the main intersections of the capital. It is also an important public transportation hub, including the RER station and several bus terminals. The square is decorated with the famous statue of the Lion of Belfort, symbolizing the resistance of Colonel Denfert-Rochereau during the Siege of Belfort in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870.
In the middle of this square, there are also two buildings constructed by the architect and urban planner Claude Nicolas Ledoux. Not far from there, you will find the Catacombs of Paris. These former underground quarries were transformed into an ossuary in the late 18th century, containing the remains of six million Parisians. They were named "catacombs" by analogy with the underground necropolises of ancient Rome, although they were rarely used as initial burial sites. Stretching approximately 1.7 kilometers long and located twenty meters below the surface, they are officially visited by around 300,000 visitors per year, starting from Denfert-Rochereau Square. The entrance to the Catacombs is located on the odd-numbered side of Avenue du Colonel-Henri-Rol-Tanguy, at number 1, next to the building of the Inspection Générale des Carrières at number 3. Concerts are also held there, particularly for the Fête de la Musique. The square is also adorned with a few small shops (a well-known florist, a good bakery, friendly cafes with a convivial atmosphere, a small neighborhood cinema, and a train station).
...and its surroundings
Near the square, the long René Coty Avenue is full of shops and leads directly to Parc Montsouris. On the other hand, Rue Daguerre is home to a market and some excellent restaurants that are worth a culinary detour. Just a few steps from the square, you will also find the Observatory of Paris, which is the oldest astronomical observatory in the world. Just north and a short walk from Denfert-Rochereau Square, at the Montparnasse Cemetery, lie the graves of great poets and writers such as Maupassant, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Simone de Beauvoir. The place is also a peaceful haven of greenery where one can take a leisurely stroll. Contemporary art enthusiasts will not be disappointed in the area, as the beautiful glass building by Jean Nouvel (named after a renowned international architect) houses impressive exhibitions.
The must-see attractions in Paris
For groups of 10 or more
Cruises with meals or private evenings