Quartier Latin

    Taking its name from the fact that Latin was taught and spoken in the numerous universities in the area, the Rive Gauche neighborhood of the Latin Quarter, or ‘le Quartier Latin’, remains a student area today. Still home to the most prestigious schools, universities, and higher education establishments in Paris, the neighborhood is also home to the Pantheon, a civil mausoleum housing the remains of the most distinguished French citizens. The monument sits atop the Sainte Genevieve hill, overlooking the lively streets full of bars and restaurants that lead north to the river Seine and east to the Jardin des Plantes.

    Quartier Latin Neighborhood, Paris.

My life in the Neighborhood

The first time I ever visited Paris, my family stayed on Rue Mouffetard. We knew nothing about the neighborhood or the city, but when we arrived on the small, steep street, it totally enchanted us.

When I moved back to the city years later, I was lucky enough to live 5 minutes away. Known as "the oldest street in Paris," Rue Mouffetard is vibrant and friendly, lined with affordable shops selling bread, fish, clothing, cheese, Chinese food, ice cream, chocolate, books, souvenirs, and more. At night, it's mostly a student crowd that gathers in the Contrescarpe (where George Orwell and Ernest Hemingway once lived) and its bars. I love this street with my whole heart; I think it's one of the city's best kept secrets.

I studied in Paris a few years ago and I fell in love with the city, becoming especially fascinated by the history of American expatriate writers and musicians there.

So, one of my favorite "Paris moments" is browsing for books at Shakespeare and Company, an English-language bookstore that holds an important place in American literary history. Founded by Sylvia Beach, the shop was frequently visited by American expatriate authors like James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Djuna Barnes. The inside of store whisks you back in time, and from the upstairs window you can gaze out at Notre Dame and the Seine. You can also spend hours reading in the adjacent café, which serves smoothies and pressed juices in addition to espresso.

By Justine    

Neighborhood Staples

  • The Pantheon, a secular mausoleum dedicated to illustrious French people. Visit the crypt and have a look at the impressive Foucault pendulum

  • La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution in the Jardin des Plantes is the most stunning part of the Natural History Museum

  • The Arab World Institute, with its spectacular building designed by Jean Nouvel, hosts a museum, a library, and a restaurant overlooking the river.

  • Les arènes de Lutéce (Lutecia arena) only recently discovered and restaured, date back the Roman empire

  • The 'Thermes de Cluny' in Saint Michel is another remnant of the old Lutèce


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