One of the most charming corners of Paris is Latin Quarter, on the left bank of the Seine, on the fifth kneeling from the French capital. It is in the Latin Quarter that La Sorbonne is, for example, among other educational institutions, a historically and culturally important site.
Cafes, restaurants, tourists, students, gardens, museums, shops, this district is super popular so a trip to paris It is not complete without a walk through the Latin Quarter.
The Latin Quarter
Where did the name come from? From the Middle Ages, when the Sorbonne students inhabited the neighborhood and they used Latin as a study language. Something that continues to be the case to this day, in that the site is full of students. In the 68th and XNUMXth centuries these same students organized the most important political movements of that time, for example, the popular May of 'XNUMX.
So the best thing to do before starting to walk around here is to read a little about the history of the Latin Quarter. To take advantage, understand and have another look. The front door is usually the Place de Saint Michel, with its fountain with the dragon. Beyond a labyrinth of streets opens where there are restaurants and cafes, some with terraces, although the main and most popular street is Rue Huchette.
What to see in the Latin Quarter
El Cluny Museum It is a small museum with treasures from the Middle Ages. It operates in the old residence of the abbots of Cluny and here you will see six world famous tapestries known as The Lady and the Unicorn. Colorful, handmade, with more than five centuries of existence.
In addition to these treasures, the place has beautiful gardens to walk around for a while. Of course, at the moment it is closed. It is under renovation and on September 29 it closed its doors until 2022. Another interesting and popular site is the The Shakespeare and Company bookstore, whose first Paris store opened in 1919.
The building dates from the early seventeenth century, when it was a monastery, but the bookstore is from the 50s. The store is quaint with furniture, a piano, typewriters, and more. If you buy a book it will be stamped with the logo of the bookstore, and if you want to stay close you can have a coffee in the cafeteria next door, overlooking the Seine.
The pantheon It is also in the Latin Quarter. It was once a church with a huge dome but today it is secular and pays tribute to the heroes of France. Here are buried Voltaire, Victor Hugo, the Curie couple and Antoine de Saint-Exupery and Louis Braille. The building was ordered to be built by Louis XV as a church after recovering from illness and thus, it was completed in 1791 with a certain Gothic and classical air.
The dome is huge and open and below it is located the famous Foucault pendulum (Did you read the homonymous book by Umberto Eco?). The pendulum is Foucault's experiment to show that the Earth rotates.
On the other hand, on the end of the Latin Quarter are the Luxembourg gardens, especially crowded on weekends. There are many trees, trails, people talking or doing physical activity. Around the central pond there are chairs to sit on, something very common too.
The heart of the gardens is the royal palace. The gardens date from 1612 and were designed in part by Princess Marie de Medici, then Queen of France. Today the palace functions as the French Senate. The gardens hide more than 100 sculptures and even a smaller scale replica of the famous Statue of Liberty which was gifted to the United States by France. There is also the beautiful and peaceful Medici Fountain.
Another beautiful garden is the Jardin des Plantes, a botanical garden with more than 4500 different plants: a rose garden, an alpine garden and an Art Deco-style winter garden. There are also three large nurseries dating back to the XNUMXth century, elegant metal and glass structures. Admission is free, but if you want to know the zoological and Natural History Museuml have to pay a ticket. In the latter museum there is a gallery dedicated to minerals, another to evolution and another to paleontology.
Another interesting museum is the Curie Museum. It works where she herself worked and studied radioactivity and lightning. Marie Curie, it is always worth remembering, was the first woman to win the Nobel and be a professor at the Sorbonne. Here are ancient scientific instruments and a beautiful little garden. The site is open Wednesday through Saturday from 1 to 5 pm.
In terms of Latin Quarter churches there are four that dominate the landscape: Saint-Etienne, saint-Severin, Saint Julien le Pauvre and Saint Mèdard. All very beautiful.
After walking or during or at the end, French cafes and restaurants always seduce us to take a break and eat and drink something. In the Sorbonne Square there is Les patios, a beautiful cafeteria. Next door is Tabac De La Sorbonne, great for a tasty breakfast croissants.
Of course, there are more sites and I think it's up to you to discover your own favorites. There are many and the best thing is to let yourself go, wander and stop in what catches your attention.
The Latin Quarter has picturesque streets, small squares, historic buildings, statues with plaques that you may be interested in reading, shops of all kinds. A photo of the Conciergerie watch I couldn't miss it, either. It's been in business since 1370 and it's a cool piece of engineering. Nor a walk inside Sainte Chapel. Years ago when I went, it was in restoration and it was still a beauty. The stained glass windows are beautiful and the details…. Oh my God!
If you rent an apartment and kitchens, then a good walk may be to follow in the footsteps of Julia Child, that wife of an American diplomat who in the 50s wrote a cookbook. The film starred Meryl Streep and was called Julie and Julito. She did the shopping in the Rue Mouffetard Market. Stalls open at 9 am, close at noon and reopen in the afternoon.
If you are interested in Muslim culture, because in Paris it is also present and in the neighborhood it is represented in the Great Mosque of Paris, the largest in the city, founded in 1926.
Of course its gardens are beautiful and it has a highly recommended restaurant and tea house. Along the same lines is the Arab World Institute, which explores Arab scientific and cultural contributions. The building is a contemporary structure designed by Jean Nouvel from the late 80s of the XNUMXth century. Its openings close and open according to the sunlight.
As you can see, the Latin Quarter in Paris has a bit of everything and it will not disappoint you.