The Best Ways to Relax Around Latin Quarter
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Map of Latin Quarter
Covering the 5th Arrondissement, the Latin Quarter occupies a large square on the Rive Gauche, from the Jardin des Plantes on the east end to the central Saint Michel square, and longing the Luxembourg Gardens.
Main metro stations in the Latin Quarter neighborhood:
Self-Guided Walking Tour
Begin your stroll at the bottom of 1). Rue Mouffetard, also known as “the oldest street in Paris.” Though ancient, it’s still full of life and offers fresh produce alongside restaurants, bars, and cafés like 2). Dose – Dealer de Café, which is
nestled behind an ivy-covered archway about halfway up the street. Drop in for an excellent cappuccino and a comfy spot to read before heading to 3). Au P’tit Grec for a filling, savory Mediterranean crêpe.
If you have more of a sweet tooth, stop by 4). Oroyona Crêpes for the best Nutella crêpe in Paris (really!). Keep walking up the narrow street until you reach 5). Place de la Contrescarpe, a lively hangout for locals and students, especially at night. Speaking of nightlife, continue down Rue Mouffetard until you reach 6). River Bar, a great spot for people whose favorite nights are the ones they won’t remember in the morning.
Walk a little further and you’ll find yourself behind 7). the Pantheon, where important French figures like Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, and Émile Zola are buried. You can walk around the front and pay to go inside, or just gaze from afar before heading down the Rue Descartes and turning left onto a skinny alleyway that leads to 8). St-Etienne-du-Mont.
The façade of this small but beautiful cathedral might look familiar—in the film Midnight in Paris, Owen Wilson sat on the church steps while waiting for the car that would take him back to the 1920s.
Next, head down the Rue de la Montagne Sainte Geneviève until it intersects with the bustling Rue Monge, and depending on the time of day, pick up a flaky kouign-amann (pronounced “queen-ah-man”) from 9). La Parisienne or head up to Rue Galande and pop into 10). Circus Bakery for the best cinnamon buns in Paris.
If you can wait, don’t eat your pastry just yet, save it instead for after you’ve strolled down the picturesque Rue de Frederic Sauton and found a spot to sit along 11). Quai de Montebello which boasts one of the most beautiful views of the Seine and Notre Dame. Bon appétit!
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 five 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.”