Along the left bank of the Seine in the area of the Latin Quarter / Notre Dame, you will find a series of metallic green boxes that are cunningly strapped to the wall.
Every one is a business in it's own right. Depending upon the day or time of day, the contents are brought out to see the light of day.
This the centre of French intellectual life, and many of the stall will sell rare and erudite volumes to the students amd professors of universities alike. Many more sell old (are rare) magazines, prints and the like. Some sell good quality art, but an increasing number peddle general tourist c**p.
Whilst this may have the appearance of a 'perfect market', prices can be steep.
An excellent place for a leisurely browse - with no pressure to buy.
After a great dinner in the Latin Quarter, we took a short walk to the Marais for some music and drinks at La Vénus Noire. Situated in the heart of the Marais district, this beautiful vaulted cellar, dating from the twelfth century, is a jazz concert & Baroque music club.
It was a perfect place to mingle with Parisian locals (not a touristy place at all). It was like being in a movie: there were several rooms, filled with various seating arrangements, with interesting artwork on the walls. We were a group of about 10, and we definitely didn't feel like tourists here! There were people of all ages, but mostly 20-30.
P.S. The Latin Quarter is a wonderful, exciting, diverse place to visit. We were there in January 2013, and Paris was under snow. It was beautiful! Our guide asked us to meet at La fontaine Ste Michel, and said, "Just ask anyone. Everyone knows where it is!" Be advised, it didn't look like a fountain at all when covered in snow, and at night. In fact, we remarked on the statues as we passed it by, still looking for the fountain. Parisians would point and say, "C'est juste là !" It's right there!" Fortunately, we also had the name and address of the restaurant, so after 30 minutes of searching, we gave up and went to the restaurant. The fountain is beautiful, and not like any fountain we'd ever seen!
The hop on/off Bus took us into Place St. Michel and past the baroque fountain where the protector of France, St. Michel, is slaying a Dragon. The fountain in the center of the square is another impressive landmark, created in 1860. The landmark is well known to Parisians, as it was once the site of numerous protests and social uprisings. In 1968, students took charge of the square in the face of tear gas and police clubs. Workers announced mass strikes, which halted Frances' economy for weeks and led to the eventual fall of De Gaulle's government.
Now it is a meeting place for mainly the young University students.
The Church of Saint-Séverin (Eglise Saint-Séverin) is a small church in the Latin Quarter of Paris, located on the lively tourist street Rue St-Séverin. It is the oldest church that remains standing on the Left Bank, and it continues in use as a place of worship.
The church is dedicated to Séverin, who who lived and prayed there in a small oratory. After Séverin's death, a basilica was constructed, later destroyed by the Vikings.
The current church was started in the 11th century, though its major features are Gothic from the 15th century.
With some fine gargoyles, it has the oldest bell in Paris, cast in 1412.
Dedicated to the four seasons, this monumental fountain was completed in 1745 by the royal sculptor Edmé Bouchardon. It was commissioned by King Louis XV and was among many fountains built in Paris at the time to provide water to Parisians, but la Fontaine des Quatres-Saisons was the grandest of them all. One of the archways within the fountain leads into a courtyard which has the entrance to Musée Maillol, a small museum dedicated to the works of the Catalan artist Aristide Maillol. The museum also holds temporary exhibits, such as the one on Pompei that was taking place when I visited in Dec 2011.
"Rive gauche", the left bank, is slightly different from the other side, dominated by students and cultural activities.
Of course, shopping is the "cultural activity" for many people (no, I'm not talking about Fernanda) and the avenues of Saint Germain are filled with "cultural centers".
Another "cultural activity" recommended to this area is lunch, in one of the many restaurants.
Of course, in the brakes of so intense cultural activities, strolling in the narrow streets allows some small surprises and pleasures.
If you keep going and exit east out of Jardin du Luxembourg, you hit Blvd St Michel.
Up NE you eventually come to a great hangout spot, Place St. Michel fountain.
Usually always crowded with people (mostly young but all ages), enjoy the scene while Archangel Michael slays the devil/dragon/whatever. During WWII occupation this was a place of many conflicts between occupying Nazis and the French resistance as well as the student riots in the '60s.
as a spiritual 'Soixante-huitard'
(if you thrive on cultural sterotypes... :P)
this place holds a special relevance for me.
There were lots of cafes here for some good people-watching, and overall Place St Michel is just an excellent area to walk, hang & chill.
At night you can watch fire-eaters, or sit down at a cafe table
and if you're lucky enough, have a french "lady" you have never seen before
(with her right hand) cadge / con you for drinks, smoke your cigarettes;
and (with her left hand) honk you under the table.
I started my trail along the Latin Quarter from Saint Julien le Pauvre church, placed in the Way of St. James. It is one of the oldest churches in Paris, sitting near the Seine, in the other river side of Notre-Dame Cathedral. It was built between 1165 and 1220. At least three saints can be claimed as patron of this church, but it is most likely that Saint Julian the Hospitaller (or the Poor) was the one originally intended. The University of Paris held its official meetings in a room of the church until 1524, when a student protest created so much damage that the meetings were barred from the church by Parliament. This meeting room was demolished in the 17th century and that's why the main façade looks like it lastes a part. This church looks like a countryside hermitage and it's very simple from its outside.
Empecé mi ruta por el Barrio Latino desde la iglesia de Saint Julien le Pauvre, en el Camino de Santiago. Esta es una de las iglesias más antiguas de París, situada cenrca del Sena, al otro lado de río de la Catedral de Notre-Dame. Se construyó entre 1165 y 1220. Puede decirse que al menos tres santos son los patrones de esta iglesia, pero el más claro es San Julian el Hospitalario (o el pobre), al que primero se dedicó la parroquia. La Universidad de París celebraba sus reuniones oficiales en una sala de esta iglesia hasta que una protesta estudiantil hizo tantos destrozos en 1524 que el Parlamento prohibió hacer aquí las reuniones. La sala fue derribada en el siglo XVIII y por eso que a la fachada parece como si le faltara un trozo. La iglesia parece una hermita de campo y es muy simple en su exterior.
Opening hours / Horario de apertura
Everyday / Todos los días: 9:30 - 13:00 and 15:00 - 18:30
For a time, the City of Paris considered turning the church into a museum, but in 1889, St. Julien was instead reconsecrated and assigned to the Melkites, a congregation of Eastern Catholics who observe the Byzantine Rite and have their own Patriarch, but are still in communion with the Pope in Rome. It remains a Melkite church, Greek Catholic Rite, to the present day and you can see it's very different from a Roman Rite church. I like this church, very similar like the orthodox worship places. It is also the setting for chamber and religious music concerts.
Durante un tiempo, la ciudad de París estuvo considerando convertir esta iglesia en un museo, pero en 1889 se resacralizó Saint Julien y en 1892 se asignó a los Melquitas, una congregación de católicos orientales que observan el rito bizantino y tiene su propio patriarca, pero que continuan en comunión con el Papa de Roma. Hoy en día continua siendo una iglesia Melkita, de culto católico griego y se puede ver claramente que es diferente a cualquier iglesia de rito romano. Me gusta esta iglesia, muy similar a los lugares d eoración ortodoxos. Éste es también lugar para conciertos de música religiosa.
Mass schedule / Horario de misas
Tuesday and Thursday / Martes y jueves: 12:15 (Mass / Misa)
Wednesnay and Friday / Miércoles y viernes: 12:15 (Canonical hours / Horas canónicas)
Saturday / Sábado: 17:00 (Vespers / Vísperas)
Sunday / Domingo: 11:00 (Sunday Mass / Misa dominical)
North of the church, in the garden, exists the oldest tree of Paris (planted in 1602) by Jean Robin, gardener in chief of the field of the Apothecaries. It is also known as the "Lucky Tree of Paris", as it is thought to bring years of good luck to those who gently touch the tree's bark. There are some Roman remains along the garden. But the most remarkable spot is a modern fountain, devoted to St. Julien the Hospitaller. It has a triangular shape and there are many small figures depicting him supporting and comforting others.
Al norte de la iglesia, en el jardín, está el arbol más antiguo de París (plantado en 1602) por Jean Robin, jardinero jefe en el campo de farmacéuticos. También se le llama "el Arbol de la Suerte de París", porque se piensa que el que toque su tronco tendrá varios años de buena suerte. Hay algunos restos romanos a lo largo del jardín. Pero lo que más llama la atención es una fuente moderna dedicada a San Julian el Hospitalario. Tiene forma triangular y muchas figuras pequeñas que lo representan apoyando y confortando a gente.
The heart of the Latin Quarter is of course the Sorbonne University. It is one of the oldest and most famous college in the world. At the very beginning, it was a theology school, and the name "Latin Quarter" comes from the fact that at that time all the lessons were given in latin.
I had the chance to study here for one year (in history). It was impressing to have classes in these rooms with beautiful painted ceilings. But contrary to what most people think, the Sorbonne is not a "top level" university like Oxford or Yale... In France all the universities have pretty much the same level and the choice is made depending on where you live, not of your grades.
Our top level schools are what we call the "Grandes Ecoles" like "Sciences Po" or "Polytechnique"...
Normally you can enter the building only if you have a student card. But you can try to have a look inside pretending that you come to get some information about the foreign student programm for example...
Well, I ran into this area as I was looking for the train stop, and I am soooo happy I did....I had not spoken to anyone who had mentioned the Latin Quarter to me, so I'm glad I found it.....This is probably the cheapest and best meals you will have in all of Paris.....the narrow streets are lined with all types of restaurants offering every type of food your looking for...pastries, cheese stores, all foods.......Spend having lunch here !!! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED IT !!!!!! and for those who fear the language barrier....most of the places have English menu's !!!!!
The 5th district of Paris (also better known as the Latin Quarter) is one of the best known of the city’s central districts, located on the Left Bank (Rive Gauche) of the river Seine. The first great Parisian university, the Sorbonne, was founded here and the area has a significant student presence, with several universities and schools of higher education being located in the area. The district also houses the core of ancient Gallo-Roman Paris. A number of rare archaeological remains that can be seen within the district.
Of course after crossing the Seine and entering the Latin Quarter, a cacophony of sounds sights and a menagerie of people and personalities emerge. this area, known primarily for its nightlife, is thriving and alive at any time- it is the petit city that rarely sleeps. Lined with bistros, cafes, brasseries, boulangerie, jazz clubs, boutiques, bookshops and tourist shops, the area provides entertainment for all ages and all desires. The Latin Quarter is a street wander becomes walking feast through crooked, cobblestones streets of old. it is a moving passageway to neon light, old world, voices of the multi lingual personalities and a roaring backlash of "tourism" at its height.
Shakespeare and Company bookstore is there (they will stamp your book purchase for you) where you can find all things literary. I'm a Hemingway fanatic and always purchase something of his at this shop. If the attic is open (rarely) venture the old worn steps. It is a small reading room with comfortable seating, views of the river and rustic in nature. This is a definite must, especially if the resident cat strolls by and gives you the nod of approval.
The St. Severin is a favorite for coffee and people watching and wonderful for an evening cognac or wine.. If you desire a passion for fish entrees, le Luna is in store. Under yellow washed walls and small cramped quarters where every gets to know you, you can dine on some of the best french fish dishes I have found in the city. If you are in the mood for Greek food, Le Meteora will give you hours of enjoyment. Greek aperitifs, main course skewers, great chocolate mousse, and drinks to which i could never even pronounce let alone spell. All food is served with live music, dancing and cajoling waiters, unsuspecting diners hoisted onto table tops and give lessons in dancing, a circle dance to the cheers and roar of the crowded restaurant. Songs are sung by everyone and plates are dashed to the floor in celebration of a great meal, new friends and yells and squeal's of laughter.
The street food amidst the convergence of the street performers and both french residents and visitors is best for food on the move. Crepes of any fashion, bread and cheese, hot dogs (yes they are there but so much better than home), all things felafel's and hand carved meats, chocolates and sweets by the delectable mouthful. There is a flavor and style for every palate and all one has to do is decide- now therein lies the problem...
On my first trip to Paris our hotel was somewhere in this area (Couldn't tell you where now!) and we spent most of our time here as well. We enjoyed the feel of this student and youth filled neighborhood and had a great time here.
Upon visiting the Latin Quarter again I was still enthralled by the beauty of this neighborhood. Now that I'm older I'm glad that I didn't spend the majority of my time here this time around. But it was still wonderful to stroll down the streets and see how much I could remember!