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 Latin Quarter is full of lively bars and restaurants. It is near to universities including the world famous Sorbonne.
The name comes from the Latin language that was spoken here in the middle ages.
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 !!!!!
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.
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!
“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.
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.
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)
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.