The fresco in this photo (above) is at the north end of the Rue de la Gaîté, at the corner of Boulevard Edgar Quinet, where a popular ice cream shop attracts long lines of customers.
As the name implies, the Rue de la Gaîté has always been a place of merriment and entertainment. In the eighteenth century the street was already lined with cabarets, ballrooms, theaters, restaurants and bordellos. Until 1860 the Rue de la Gaîté was just outside the city limits of Paris, which meant that the city tax on alcohol did not apply.
To this day there are five theatres on this short street (not cinemas, but real theatres with nightly live performances), and more nearby. And there are numerous restaurants and cafés which are always lively and crowded in the evenings (except during Corona lockdowns).
The only establishments that do not seem to be thriving are the sex shops, which were popular in the twentieth century but have trouble competing with internet pornography in the twenty-first.
My photos in this post are from 2013. I revised the text in 2021.
See also: Théâtre Montparnasse.