The street was named after the owner of the land just outside the walls of Paris to the South of the Montparnasse cemetery, Jacques Philippe Martin Cels, who was also a renowned horticulturalist. It was opened in 1850.
One of Paris’ rare plaques remembering left-wingers has been put outside No. 24. This is the Hotel Mistral, where Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre rented two separate rooms from the autumn of 1937 until September 1939. They had agreed to keep their individual freedom.
After being released from his prisoner-of-war status in 1940, Sartre returned to the Hotel Mistral, where de Beauvoir also moved back to. In 1941 the first meeting of the intellectual resistance group, ‘Socialism and Freedom’ (Socialisme et Liberté), was held in Simone de Beauvoir’s room.