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Stars of Montparnasse in the Roaring Twenties

Follow Kiki, Queen of Montparnasse, and discover what were the Crazy Years 1920s – “les Années Folles”!

Here are a few Parisian riddles: Where can a girl with no education become a queen? Also where can someone who’s not French become a Parisian? Or where can an American writer, a Russian poet and a Viking painter all have coffee together?

The answer is Montparnasse in the Roaring Twenties! Artists started to move to this southern district of Paris around 1910, some from just a few kilometers away in Montmartre, others from the US, Spain and Japan. They were searching for Paris’s restless creative spirit.

At first Montparnasse offered little more than a metro station, a boulevard, as well as a cemetery. But by the time the decade was over, the novelist Henry Miller called this neighborhood “the navel of the world.”

And ruling it all (don’t forget the riddle!) was Kiki, whom her friends called the “Queen of Montparnasse.” She came to Paris as a poor young woman and began working as an artist’s model. After piling up jobs, lovers and friends, thanks to her beauty and charm, she quickly became a symbol of Paris’s international, liberated spirit.

So get ready to follow Kiki de Montparnasse’s lively footsteps, from her early success on Boulevard Raspail, to the era’s most famous cafes like La Coupole and Le Dome, and see why Parisians called the 1920s les Années Folles — the crazy years!