Latin Quarter, Paris
The Latin Quarter takes up most of the 5th arrondissement, and part of the 6th.
The Latin Quarter has been a haven for budget travelers, international students, and artists for quite a long time.
It’s not as cheap as it used to be, because now it’s also quite trendy. But you will still find lots of great and inexpensive places to eat as well as plenty of bars and night clubs for socializing after hours.
What to do and see in the Latin Quarter:
The Pantheon in Paris
Markets of Rue Mouffetard
Musee du Moyen Age (formerly known as the Musee de Cluny)
Musee de la Prefecture de la Police
Church of St-Severin
Church of St-Julien-le-Pauvre
Church of St-Etienne-du-Mont
Shakespeare & Co. Bookshop
Fondest memory: The lively and social atmosphere which dominates this part of Paris to this day.
Latin Quarter Metro & RER Stations – Cluny/La Sorbonne, Maubert/Mutualite, Cardinal Lemoine, Jussieu, Place Monge, Censier/Daubenton, St. Michel, Luxembourg
Latin Quarter Bus Lines – 27, 87, 86, 24, 21, 47, 87, 84
Sitting on the parapet of the Pont (that is bridge) St.-Michel late on a warm pleasant night, talking with friends and drinking in the self-centered activities swirling around and looking at the variably lit structures nearby is a memory never to be forgotten. Depending on how one wants to define it, the Place St.-Michel and its fountain are in the 6th Arr. and at the boundary of the Latin quarter; the action is in the 5th.(see our Tips about this in Things to Do>Latin Quarter and >St.-Severin there).
Fondest memory: When the two of us remember Paris, it is this spot; we treated our 4 grown sons and their wives to a week in France. We walked here from where we were staying (and just had dinner) in the St.-Germaine de Pres Quarter on their first night. I am sorry the pictures are so dark, they are lifted from an early camcorder in May 1998).
I wouldn't remember all streets I walked in but some left vivid memories. One of them is Boul Mich.
I enjoyed walking there, looking at the books on stalls. The area is very atmospheric for being in Quartier Latin. Lots of students. In fact, this is the atmosphere my parents got used to for them having studied in the area end 60s- early 70s.
It was here that, in 1968, students demonstrated against many aspects of French society. They criticized the grasp the state had on French citizens life. Not only students but workers went demonstrating. It was the biggest demonstration France had ever known (8 millions of 68ards). The demonstrators were asking for improvement of their conditions (salary..), for more freedom as simple citizens (miniskirt, contraception pills were introduced in everyday life since women struggled for them... Aaah! from then, they could bath bare-chested on the beach too).
Yet, there have been some signs prior to May. In March 68: arrestation of demonstrators against Vietnam war. Following that, some students of Nanterre (brand new campus at West of Paris region) started a new movement, that called for public debates.
My parents shared with French society then those concerns. Yet, as foreign students, they couldn't take part in the demonstrations. I think that without talking about this, my parents would remember it while sitting in cafés at Boul Mich. As a matter of fact, each time we went to Paris, we went there.
Mai 68 was reported to not be "that" important, seen as movements from kids who wanted to simply counter parental, state authorities. Still, it made Général de Gaulle rethink his task as a president. In fact, on May 68, demonstrators were asking his departure : "Dix ans, ça suffit !". Effect was not immediate but he resigned one year later after French people said NO to an important project of his.
Fondest memory: I learnt in 2002 that my father really wanted to demonstrate but couldn't. I knew from that where this excitement watching Cohn-Bendit, the Gruen-Vert politician, on TV, had come from. He was then one of leaders of an extreme left-wing group, the very one who triggered some demonstrations in end 67-early 68 era, as a kind of prelims of "Mai 68".
A boss excited about seeing Cohn-Bendit le Vert Gaucho... what a fate for an ex-68ard.
On Boul Mich itself... I enjoyed also sitting in cafés, having some ice-cream and watching the world going by.
On my second holidays in Paris (1985), Boul Mich entered in our family collective memory (not "fondest" though). Once, in a sunny afternoon, we were enjoying some drinks and ice-cream in a café on Boul Mich: Café Cluny. Lots of people walking around. We noticed a guy in the pedestrian lane, tall, skinny, walking fast, seemingly in a hurry.
Right after the sight of this guy, we heard a noise, the sound of a shock. Like many in Paris, he hadn't respected the lights. He just crossed the street at the moment he shouldn't have, where he shouldn't have. Got hit by a bus... and died.
What reason could justify this hurry at such an extent that one just can't wait one's turn to cross the street, then loses one's life like the many stray dogs in Tana streets ? It was spectacular but that was my thought at the very moment I knew he died right away. Nothing to do, no doctor to call, he couldn't be saved.
Even now, we still talk about it and even my small sister, 7 at that time, remembered it clearly.
When I checked over the net where places whose I have most vivid memories were, they ended up being in Quartier Latin.
As a matter of fact, I experienced many things in the area. One of nicest and exciting discoveries in Paris was La Menagerie des Jardins des Plantes. I remembered my parents and my uncle took me there in an afternoon. It was a real running-off !
It was not my first time in a zoo but it was the first time I could see the Big 5. Also, bears were very impressive. Anyway, my preference goes to reptiles (saurians, not snakes) and bears. I saw some yacks, watussis.. weird. Never liked baboons and monkeys. The ones I hate least are, of course, lemurs. Well, I like lemurs but really hate the big beasts like orang-outangs, chimpanz?s...
Also saw a big fat yellow anaconda from.. Madagascar. Aaah ! Made me think of some lemon yellow plastic design, about everything but an animal. It was so bright yellow like lemon. Then, also remembered throwing coins to the crocodiles there.
I also appreciated strolling around, just spotting here and there flamingoes, ostriches and the many goat-types. My first visit was in mid-80s. In 2000, we returned there again and I saw kangaroos. First "in flesh" encountering with TV stars. :)
After the menagerie, we went to one of the cafes around. I remember I had blueberry cassata there while my Mum and I were waiting for my father and uncle. The guys went checking the car they parked somewhere. Parking in Paris is not easy. Well, it's hell !
Fondest memory: At first, I hesitated about the name. Either it was Zoo de Vincennes either Menagerie des Jardin des Plantes. Anyways, there have to be animals :). Then checked over the web some pics which would help me to recognize the park I really visited.
I saw some pictures I recognized immediately. Then, saw the location: in Quartier Latin again. Not that surprising. My parents, esp. Mum, loved the area.
Built to replace the Royal menagerie of Versailles in 1794, no wonder it still has an old-fashioned ambience and setting. Maybe this intimate aspect was what made me love it.
The best website I found on La menagerie was the following (in French). Well, at least, it helped me to remember the name accurately. :) Lots of pics there.
The Quartier Latin ("Latin Quarter") is an area in the 5th arrondissement of Paris, France, around the Sorbonne University.
The name derives from the Latin language, which was widely spoken in the Middle Ages in and around the University.
It currently still houses various higher education establishments, such as the École Normale Supérieure, the École des Mines and the Jussieu university campus.
Nowadays it is a very touristic place with lots of restaurants, Cafès, bars
All sightseeing in Paris can be done on your own. There is a Hop-on/Hop-off Bus that takes you to all the "must see" sites.
Never take a bus tour. Your time is not your own, and you don't always hear what the guide is saying. If a site has an "self audio" tour like the Louvre or Palace of Versailles, pay for it.
Take the elevator to the top of the Eiffel Tower for the view above Paris, and use the Metro (subway system) for getting around below Paris, when not using the Hop-on/Hop-off Bus!
Fondest memory: Visit the Latin Quarter for its narrow cobblestone streets, colorful quaint old-world buildings, and delicious little greek cafes. You'll feel like you stepped back in time.
This church was begun in 1492 and not finished till 1622. It's a mixture of Gothic and Renaissance style, in the Latin Quarter.
I just happened to come across it, and even under scaffold, it still looked great.
Favorite thing: Bakpak, Jeff and Himanshi doing dinner at the latin Quarter. We missed the last Metro, had blown all our money on food and walked back to the hostel. Didn't really mind the walk, even though it was longish and we were a little tired. back at the hostel, we wondered why we didnt cab it back and paid the cabbie when we got back to the hostel? To some questions, there are no answers ....
MUSEE CLUNY 9.15am-5.45pm
FLOWER MARKET Place Louis Lepine
Shakespeare and Co, for your English Books (see picture)- 37 rue de la bucherie
The Tea Caddy 14, rue Saint Julien - 12h-19h
NOTRE DAME DE PARIS 8.30am-6.45pm
ile de la cite
Fondest memory: The Tea Caddy, then walk on ILE de la CITE (island)
Go to Latin Quarter where 13 faculties of Sorbonne university are situated. Only one facade of the world famous Sorbonne is preserved. Latin Quarter is very picturesque, especially in spring.
Fondest memory: I was impressed by Rue Mouffetard - the most charming area of Latin Quarter. I remember very vividly the small square with flower-beds and a fountain in the middle, nearby there is a cafe 'At Jovial Negro'.
I would take people to Quartier Latin. Yes, all tourists go there but it is extremely nice with all the cheap student restaurants, the street market at Mouffetard, the bookshops, the closeness to Jardin de Luxembourg and then the Pantheon looming over it all. I would also take people on a boat trip on the Seine as Paris is very nice from the river both day and night.
Fondest memory: The first time I came to Paris, when we stayed in a colleague's flat in Quartier Latin and I could finally see what people had been on about when I opened our French shutters...
The Latin quarter is a really wonderful area. I especially liked the area around rue de la Huchette, rue St Servin and so on. If you go off the metro at St Michel, you will see the small, narrow streets from the boulevard. Around those streets, there are A LOT of restaurants with food from all over the world. We went here every night to have our dinner. This area has become quite popular with tourists too, which is quite a shame. Look out for people standing at their restaurant who wants YOU to come to their restaurant + these men selling roses when you're having your meal.
Fondest memory: When a man at Greek restaurant asked us if we were from Sweden, in Swedish. ;) I loved walking around and search for a new amazing place to eat. The cosy streets are simply wonderful.
Fondest memory: I loved everything about Paris down to the minutest tiniest detail of the man in the leather coat spray painting grafiti in the Metro late at night. but my fondest memory is of when we were let loose in the Latin Quarter and my friend Isabel went off together because we looked the least American of our group and spoke the best French. the merchants trying to lure people into their restaurants called out to other tourists in English, but they spoke french to us. We went to McDonalds, which i'm sure sounds lame, but we were the only tourists there. it was crowded so a man and his young daughter shared our table. he was so attentive to her. he washed her hands off with a bottle of Evian and set everything up for her before he did anything for himself. she was the cutest child ever and kept trying to steal our fries. 'mange ton poulet' he said and enticingly offered her a mcnugget. she wanted our fries. then we went out and stopped at Hotel Cluny, and building that had intrigued us when we went by before. we went into the court yard and sat down and relaxed. then a young French family came in and played together while we watched. i'm not sure how exactly, but it was just magic...
The statue of Fénelon is surrounded with a fountain, in the center of a pleasant square.
Fondest memory: Le quartier Latin remains the district of the students and intellectuals...
Fondest memory: I can't forget pretty spring flowers which grew on the slopes. I noticed them on the way to the Latin Quarters - so cute!