Around 1920 artists of the avant-garde abandoned Montmartre to moved to Montparnasse, shifting the core of Paris's artistic and cultural life to the area around Montparnasse. Picasso, Chagall, Modigliani, Miro, Kandinsky, Hemingway, Henry Miller and Cocteau as well as political exiles such as Trotsky & Lenin all hung out here at various times.
Montpamasse remained an artistic center until the mid 30's. Since the construction of the massive new Montparnasse train station as well as the addition of many fashionable cafes, bars, restaurant sand cinemas.
However, Montparnasse remains picturesque because of its lively atmosphere at night and of the monumental Montparnasse Tower. The tower itself was built in 1973. During construction, the tower was very popular as it became a symbol of the new modern Paris. This changed however when the 211 meters tall Tour Montparnasse was completed. The 58 floors of the tower are mainly occupied by offices, while two floors are open to the public for viewing the city; the 56th floor with a restaurant, and the terrace on the top floor.
Its simple architecture, gigantic proportions and monolithic appearance have been often criticised for being out of place in Paris urban landscape and, as a result, two years after its completion the construction of skyscrapers in the city centre was banned.