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Square Réné Viviani. 5th.
This favourite little square, created in 1928 commemorating the very first Works Minister France ever had has much going for it. Just across the river from Notre Dame it sits on the site of an old annexe of the Hotel Dieu hospital, that gives onto the place in front of the cathedral. It is home to the oldest tree in Paris, a "robinier" planted here in 1601, but also home to some of the loveliest climbing roses in Paris (May) and some magnolia trees that are sublime when in bloom (early April). There is a well probably dating from the 12th century and also, of course has the St. Julien le Pauvre church, the second oldest in Paris backing into it. It was used as a barricade during the Liberation by the FFI and police to protect Notre Dame from the retreating German soldiers.
It's benches are also much used for romantic reasons as couples contemplate a magnificent view of Notre Dame.
St. Michel is the closest metro.
Best Sandwich in the World
The best lunch sandwich shop in the world is on rue de la Harpe and rue san Severin, 1 or 2 blocks southeast of blvd st Michel & the Seine. You can see, in the next photo, dark (cat food) tuna, boiled eggs, chopped peppers and onions, olives (WITH pits), and, yes, chunks of boiled potatos! Le sandwich formidable. With a small bottle of water, it cost just under 5 Euro [February 2009]
- Gay and Lesbian
- Whale Watching
- Family Travel
Latin Quarter / 5th's district
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.
- Museum Visits
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Family Travel
Sounds of the Night- The Latin Quarter
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!
- Study Abroad
- Budget Travel
The Rounded Architecture of Paris
“The great art of governing consists in not letting men grow old in their jobs.”
— Napoleon III (1808-1873)
OLD vs. NEW Although Paris was settled more than 2,000 years ago by the Iron Age Celtic people known as the Parisii, the image that most of the world has of the City of Light is that of a 19th century capital.
From 1852 to 1870 the Mediaeval city was transformed under the order of Napoleon III by Baron Georges Haussmann. Entire sections of Paris were cleared away to create the wide boulevards, parks, and commercial and residential areas that are so familiar today. The demise of the dirty blind alleys that bred disease was welcome by progressive urban planners and humanitarians alike. Make no mistake about Napoleon’s motives; they were largely a factor of self-preservation. In addition to breeding disease the city’s narrow, dead-end streets also bred dissent. It was believed that the new broad avenues would be less likely barricaded and could more easily move troops to squelch rebellion.
From the start of Napoleon III’s reign in 1852, the Préfecteur Haussmann cut immense and dead-straight arteries through Paris, such as Avenue de l’Opéra, Boulevard de Sébastopol, and Boulevard St-Michel. These great axes were lined with wealthy and comfortable residential buildings of five or six floors.
These Second Empire buildings are distinguished by the mansard roof, wrought iron balconies, limestone cladding, dormers, projecting central pavilions, and classical details such as quoins and cornices. And everything always had a sense of monumentality. Because some of the older streets met the newer ones at acute angles the buildings at these angles were rounded to help soften the look.
Here is a sampling of some of those rounded corner buildings throughout Paris.
- Historical Travel
Latin Quarter and River Seine
The river Seine disects Paris and is a great place to stroll along either the left bank or right bank. There are many arguments over which bank is better, don't worry, just do both.
The Latin Quarter (arrondissement or district 5e and 6e) is quite central and while growing in tourism, stilll contains a large number of students, artists and academics. The boulevard St Michel which is the border is a large shop lined street. This area is known as the Latin quarter because up until the revolution the students and professors only communicated in Latin.
There is an amazing collection of cafes and restaurants, theatres and quaint shops in this area, plus its only a quick stroll to the Notre Dame and Pont Neuf along the Seine River. The pantheon is a landmark in this area. It is a very historic area of Paris.
In all, it makes a great base to explore Paris from.
Place St-Michel, Fontaine St-Michel
“God willing, every working man in my kingdom will have a chicken in the pot every Sunday, at the least!” — the domestic policy of Henri IV (1553–1610)
FOR THE PEOPLE Michael the Archangel is the protector of the French people. The fountain at the focal point of Place St-Michel features a bronze sculptural grouping, St-Michel points to heaven as he trounces the Devil under foot, while two dragons gargle water into the basin. This grouping is the work of Francisque Joseph Duret. A Raphaël painting in the Louvre, which shows St-Michel killing the Devil, served as Duret’s inspiration.
The fountain was designed by Gabriel Davioud in 1860 as part of Baron Georges Haussmann’s city renovation plan. This square, in the heart of the Latin Quarter at the foot of Boulevard St-Michel, is a popular meeting spot for students and tourists.
This is also a Wi-Fi Hot Spot, for those with more internet need than deep pockets!
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
St-Séverin’s: A Flamboyant Gothic Gem, Part II
“Paris is the greatest temple ever built to material joys and the lust of the eyes.” — Henry James (1843-1916)
High points inside the Church of Saint-Séverin include stained glass windows dating from the Middle Ages, illustrating Biblical stories, for example, Christ giving the keys to Kingdom of Heaven to St. Peter (see photo #4) as well as the lives of the saints, for example, St. Martin of Tours’ encounter with Christ (see photo #5).
There is also a set of seven windows dating from the late 1960s by Jean René Bazaine. These more recent windows, in an colorful abstract style, were inspired by the seven sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church, and are around the ambulatory behind the altar.
Saint-Séverin’s double ambulatory’s most striking feature are 10 double spans of twisted pillars (see photo #2) behind the altar; it has been said that they resemble the trunks of palm trees.
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
St-Séverin’s: A Flamboyant Gothic Gem, Part I
“Paris vaut bien une messe.”
(“Paris is well worth a Mass.”)
— Henri IV (1553-1610)
YOU BET IT IS Following the advise of his mistress, Gabrielle d’Estrées, Henri II, King of Navarre made the above declaration on 25.July.1593. He embraced Roman Catholicism, permanently renouncing Protestantism, in order to claim the throne of France, becoming Henri IV.
This beautiful Flamboyant Gothic church honors the sixth century pious hermit, St-Séverin, who lived in the area. The Flamboyant style gets its name from the flame-like meanderings of its tracery decoration, as well as the dramatic lengthens of the window and door pediments and the tops of arches. Popular in the 15th century and early part of the 16th, France was where this style is most commonly found. Gargoyles (see photo #5) lurk overhead as you enter this magnificent church. Today, these stone projections are impressive during rainstorms, especially heavy ones, when rainwater gushes from their gaping mouths.
This Latin Quarter church started its mission as a small oratory. The Vikings destroyed it during their Siege of Paris between AD 885 and AD 886; it was rebuilt as a parish church during the 11th century. The current building, however, was not completed until the early 1500s. It lacks a transept. Its long rectangular shape terminates in a circular apse.
The façade is now composed of a 13th-century portal (see photos #3 & #4), brought from a church on Île de la Cité, which was demolished in 1837; and it is paired with a handsome, 15th-century tower (see photo #1) rising above it.
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
An important attraction in the Latin quarter of Paris is place Saint-Michel. The fountain at the place that marks the beginning of the boulevard saint Michel is a touristy spot. There are numerous cafés and shops around place.
Fountain on Place Saint-Michel
At the heart of Quartier Latin and close to Paris Universities, the Place St-Michel is a famous Paris landmark. The fountain in the center of the square was created by French sculptor Davioud in 1860 and represents Saint Michel, protector of France, slaying a dragon.
The cafés and shops around place St-Michel and place St-André-des-Arts are jammed with people, mainly young and, in summer, largely foreign, while the fountain on the place is a favourite meeting spot.
%4Romanian Orthodox Church-Ortodoxos Rumanos
Walking thru the latin neightborhood I saw this beautiful church which was not in my tourist guide. It's the Romanian Orthodox Church in Paris. Fortunately I could enter there. I didn't take any picture inside because they were celebrating a service, so I prefered to stand at the end in a respectful way just for a few minutes.
There is a statue of a Romanian philosophe and poet called Mihai EMINESCU (1850-1889) inext to the church.
Caminado por el Barrio Latino vi una bonita iglesia que no venía en mi guía turísitica. Es la Iglesia Ortodoxa Rumana en París. Afortunadamente pude entrar, pero no tomé ninguna foto dentro porque estaban celebrando un servicio religioso y preferí quedarme sólo un rato atrás de manera respetuosa.
Cerca de la iglesia está la estatua de un filósofo y poeta rumano llamado Mihai ENINESCU (1850-1889)
St. Severin Quarter: La Place Rene-Viviani
The r. St.-Severin ends at r. St.-Jacques just beyond the apse of its name church. If you look ahead (see picture) you see the west end of the church of St. Julien le Pauvre (See separate Tip). This is partly a quaint ruin worthy of study (look for the iron-caged well and the entrance to the Hotel Laffemas across the street). Skirting the church to the left discloses the pretty park: the Place Rene-Viviani, a treed and sunlit area. Immediately ahead is a large and damaged tree, a false Acacia said to be the oldest tree in Paris. Revealed through its branches is the South face of Notre Dame. In fact the best pictures of this side of the church are obtained from the Northeast corner of the park. This is a fine place to sit down and take a rest.
- Family Travel
St. Severin Quarter:Rues la Huchette & St.-Severin
The r. de la Huchette, once called and again resembling the r. des Rotisseurs, begins at the Blvd. St.-Michel near the Metro stop of that name. It parallels the Seine (running East) to r. St.-Jacques; r. St. Severin parallels it next south and passes its name church. Both streets are filled with Greek and Algerian restaurants (perhaps 9 of each) and assorted other food-related venues (including bakeries). The better Algerian restaurants are spread further south in the quarter. Our picture shows a typical near-Eastern way of cooking: spit-roasting (usually lamb or if Greek maybe pork). The adjacent restaurant windows are filled with skewers of kebabs, lamb, beef and shrimp and other expensive delicacies for grilling (this is called souvlakia in Greek) whose higher prices are not obvious (beware). In poorer times the offal meats (heart, kidneys, liver,intestine, trimmings) were compressed and tied into heavy masses and marinated. These were roasted, upended and trimmed or shredded, doused with marinade and fresh vegetables (onion, peppers etc.) and served in a pita-pocket called a gyro. Today only lamb and beef are used. The compressed meat masses are prepared by commercial butchers, the rotisseries are mass produced and mid-Eastern restaurants worldwide serve the dish as a fast-food. There is such a sidewalk takeaway right here on the corner of Xavier Privas and St.-Severin, or it can be had more elaborately inside the restaurants. Many other Greek specialties are available and at night there may even be dancing in an attempt to conger up visions of Athens for you.(at a price?).
The Algerian restaurants serve semolina steamed above stews of various meats and vegetables, called couscous. The grain has a most delectable flavor that is unequaled. One order is enough usually for two people and the dish is quite inexpensive. Algerian wines are cheap and quite good too. Some of the couscous restaurants are on r. Xavier Privas which runs parallel to Blvd. St.-Michel between Huchette and St.-Severin.
- Family Travel
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