Montparnasse excels at low-key nightlife. Its cosy piano bars have changed little over the centuries, its terraces are inviting spots to while away an evening – with a rosé in summer or a vin chaud in winter – and even its newest cocktail bars remain free from the latest fads.
Montparnasse has it all, according to Paris food and wine expert Veronica Cassidy. The 14th arrondissement and its surrounding area may not be renowned places for a night out, but “no matter your interests, there’s something for you in this vibrant neighbourhood,” she says. Classic café/bars are the area’s best-known after-dark haunts, but there’s plenty more to discover, such as unexpectedly glitzy cocktail bars, modern taprooms and budget-friendly happy-hour hangouts. “Conviviality makes a great Parisian bar,” Cassidy says. “I’ll come to a bar for good drinks, but I’ll come back for good people.”
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
You know you’re in one of the most traditional bars in Paris when your glass of Côtes de Provence rosé – a Château Minuty for €8 (£6.75), perhaps – comes with a side of plump, marinated olives. It’s not really about the drinks or snacks at Le Dôme, though: the red wicker chairs on its small street-side terrace are some of the best spots on Boulevard du Montparnasse for people watching as the sun goes down. Le Dôme is a particularly lovely aperitif option in summer, when vines are draped from the roof and you can add ice cubes to your wine without judgement. If you don’t stay on to eat in Le Dôme’s restaurant, be sure to steal a glimpse at its magnificently over-the-top Art Deco interior before you leave.
Quirky but not cutesy, Café Bohème stands out among the other bars packed into this lively stretch of Boulevard Edgar Quinet. Lacy lanterns dangle above the terrace in summer and dried flowers are woven into the lampshades inside. The cocktails are just as colourful as the decor: go for the signature strawberry, raspberry and passion fruit mojito, or try a sharing-size spritz with friends in summer; in winter you can’t beat a classic kir royale or a Love and Flowers Belgian wheat beer. Most people head here for the happy-hour cocktails – from €6 (£5) before 8pm – but nothing soaks up one cocktail too many like a bowl of Café Bohème’s truffle fries or a board of cheese and charcuterie.
The first Breton craft-beer bar in Paris – a niche but nonetheless impressive achievement – Ker Beer was founded as a cooperative in 2017. This minimalist bar showcases some of the best beers from Brittany’s 90 breweries, available both by the bottle and on tap. Go for the unusual fruity Bora, a collaboration between Rennes-based Brasserie Skumenn and Brasserie du Grand Paris, or La Brasserie de L’Ombre’s American pale ale. Special-offer pints start at €5 (£4.20) and the bar runs occasional one-off events, such as showcases of local Parisian beers from the likes of Deck & Donohue and Brasserie Crazy Hops (check Facebook for their calendar).
Just inside the 5th arrondissement, but only five minutes’ walk from the heart of Montparasse, Solera surprises with cool cocktails and a cosy but club-like atmosphere. For its quiet, side-street location it’s unexpectedly ritzy: all black tables, dark walls and a glinting gold-backed bar. Their signature cocktails continue the bold theme: there’s a mojito spiked with Thai basil and ginger; a Parisian Smash with Monkey Shoulder whisky, Southern Comfort and passion fruit purée; and a Bistropolitain that blends elderflower cordial, lavender bitters and Hendrick’s Gin. Alternatively, you can order wine and champagne by the glass and they’ll mix classics such as caipirinhas and margaritas on request.
If Singapore slings, sidecars and brandy Alexanders float your cocktail boat, pull up a stool at Montparnasse institution Rosebud. Times may have changed in the 50 years that this atmospheric, speakeasy-style bar has been a fixture on rue Delambre, but the menu and stylish white-jacketed bar staff have stayed remarkably consistent. Both classic cocktails and innovative creations are priced at a very reasonable €14 (£12), even those with champagne. You could start your evening with a Belleva (peach liqueur, mezcal and champagne), kick a hangover with a Bloody Bud (cumin liqueur, vodka and tomato juice) or simply nurse a 16-year-old Lagavulin until the early hours.
No Montparnasse bar odyssey would be complete without paying tribute to the area’s rich history during the 1920s, the Années folles (‘crazy years’) – and there’s nowhere better to do so than the low-lit piano bar at La Closerie des Lilas. Whether or not you follow in the footsteps of Hemingway and Fitzgerald and debate the literary merits of your latest work at the mahogany bar, or just enjoy a romantic cocktail at a table for two is up to you. Their signature is the Royal Closerie at €18 (£15), with champagne, Armagnac, Mandarine Impériale and a red fruit coulis. The bar is open nightly until 1.30am and they’ll appreciate it if you’re not too scruffy.
Opened in 2019, the Copper Pub has a simple concept: beers and burgers available throughout the day (no one’s judging if you fancy a pint or two at lunch). It’s a smart, modern spot with its royal-blue awnings, and the menu is similarly on trend. There are 14 beers on tap, plus many more by the bottle – from €6 (£5) – including big-name imports from Brewdog, Duvel and Erdinger alongside French originals like the Brasserie du Mont-Blanc. To eat, as well as traditional burgers and tartars, there’s a pulled-pork bun for €14.50 (£12.20), various salads and some seriously tempting desserts such as an M&M floating island and a Guinness chocolate cake. Non-beer drinkers aren’t forgotten either, as the wine and cocktail list is surprisingly extensive.
Open from Wednesday to Saturday nights, the super-laid-back indoor-outdoor bar at community live-work village Les Grands Voisins is a world away from Montparnasse’s boulevard haunts. In the spirit of this burgeoning micro-neighbourhood, you don’t even have to buy a drink to enjoy a night at La Lingerie. It’s really about the atmosphere here: come for cheap beer, cider and organic wine in plastic cups (don’t expect to pay more than €5 (£4.20) for a drink) and a diverse schedule of events and gigs. DJ sets range from disco to rock, and there’s also drag bingo, open-air cinema screenings and live acoustic sets.
This light, bright and airy spot offers something a little different to the usual places to drink in Montparnasse. Whether you pull up a stool at the turquoise bar or flop into a squishy armchair, expect to stay for longer than you planned (and make sure you get there early for the pick of the best seats). Cocktails kick off at €8 (£6.75) – try the Dewi Motion with vodka, Cointreau, yuzu purée and Perrier – wine by the glass starts at €4.50 (£3.80) and there are sharing boards and tapas to snack on. The menu is original and fun: small plates are very loosely French-inspired and might include whiskey-marinated ribs, gravadlax (Nordic-style cured salmon) or black pudding samosas.
This is an updated version of an article originally written by Paul McQueen.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.