The cemetery is located in the 14th Arrondissement between the rue de la Gaité and boulevard Raspail and can be entered from boulevard Edgar Quinet. May be reached on the metro – taking the Edgar-Quinet stop.
In the 17th century, the land on which the cemetery is currently standing was owned by the l'Hotel-Dieu along with property of the Brothers of Charity.
In the time of the Revolution, this property was confiscated, as was much church property. Public Assistance, the new owners started to bury those people who died in the hospitals and whose bodies were not claimed by anyone. As cemeteries were forbidden within the city limits of Paris for health reasons, it was outside the city limits. Originally known as Le Cimetière du Sud (The South cemetery) , Cimetière du Montparnasse (Montparnasse cemetery) opened its doors on 25 July, 1824. With its 19 hectares (46.95 acres), it is the second largest cemetery in Paris after Père-Lachaise. It is also one of the most important green spaces in the city with its 1,200 trees.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the city of Paris acquired the neighboring land to create a cemetery for the burial of inhabitants who resided on the left bank of Paris. Originally the cemetery was a dozen hectares (29.65 acres) but in 1847, land was again acquired to double its size. At the end of the 19th century some land was given to allow several streets to be expanded, decreasing the size of the cemetery. Since then, the size of the cemetery has not changed.
The cemetery constitutes an important museum of 19th and 20th century statues and sculpture. Works of many important artists of the time are represented there.
Montparnasse Cemetery is the eternal home of many notable French and international people as well as publishers and others who promoted the works of writers and artists. It is a highly popular tourist attraction.