About Latin Quarter
Spread over the 5th and 6th arrondissements of Paris, the Latin Quarter is a culturally and geographically rich area in France's romantic capital. It graces the river Seine on its left bank and roughly encircles the University of Paris or Sorbonne.
The Latin Quarter is known all over the world to be an educational centre. Besides the historic University of Paris, institutions including École Normale Supérieure, the École des Mines de Paris, Panthéon-Assas University are present in the area.
Even the Schola Cantorum, the Jussieu university campus, and the École Polytechnique educational institutions have been established in the area very recently. Due to the presence of such significant centres of education, this area has a vibrant student life, bistros, pubs, restaurants, malls and cafes.
If you are looking to spend your vacation amidst the lively streets of Paris, the Latin Quarter is one area you shouldn't miss exploring.
How to Reach Latin Quarter
The Latin Quarter is located about 40.6 km from Paris airport. It is easily accessible by metro, car, bus or bikes. There is a direct metro train that operates between the two places, while for bus journeys, you will have to transfer in the way. You can also take shuttles or drive car rental from the airport to the Latin Quarter. All of the options take approximately 40 minutes to 1.5 hours.
What Not to Miss at Latin Quarter
Here are some of the best places to visit in Latin Quater:
1. Explore the St-Michel District and Seine-Side Quays
Dotted with quirky cobblestones, artistic cinema houses and flowery balconies, Saint Michel is the most popular tourist’s neighbourhood of Paris. It is situated right westside of the beautiful Latin quarter and on the banks of the Seine river.
While there, do not forget to snap pictures of the grandiose Saint Michel Fountain and gaze at the Notre Dame Cathedral located on the opposite bank. You can also explore the Pantheon Mausoleum and the Sorbonne. Taste the French cuisine in one of the bistros situated in the neighbourhood.
The riverside quays of Paris have been used for centuries for trade. Today, the Seines's side are dotted with pedestrians and tourists wanting about recreation and fun. Enjoy the unique acoustics of Pont de la Concorde, the sight of the floating gardens and the city lab.
2. Browse at Shakespeare & Company Bookshop
A series of two bookstores located along Paris’ left bank, the Shakespeare and Company bookstores have been in operation since the early 1900s. The first of these bookstores was frequented by the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, James Joyce and Ford Madox Ford. The second was recently restored to house several aspiring authors, a public library and an extensive collection of antique and new books.
While here, do not forget to browse some of the oldest editions of Victorian and Elizabethan classics. You can head to the public library of the bookstore to read for free or buy a book from the store.
3. Soak in Medieval Art at the Musée Cluny
One of Paris’s most revered museums, the Musee de Cluny is situated in the 5th arrondissement of Paris, very near to the Latin Quarter. The museum houses several significant pieces of art from the middle ages, both objects and paintings. The museum has two distinct parts, a cooling room and the Hotel de Cluny which houses several impressive art collections.
You should definitely take a look at The Lady of the Unicorn tapestries and many other of the 2300 artefacts displayed. Such is the wonder of this place that Herman Melville mentioned it in Moby Dick after he was enchanted with its beauty.
4. Watch a Movie at an Art-House Cinema
Parisian arthouse cinemas are known for their vintage feel, brilliant demonstration of new-age cinema wave and quaint themes. You must spend a couple of hours watching a real French film at one of these arthouse cinemas of Paris. If you are a fan of international cinema, visit Cinéma du Panthéon and watch an entertaining foreign language film, or go to Studio 28 for a dose of French cinema.
Places to Visit around Latin Quarter
1. Fontaine Saint Michel
Located in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, in the mighty place Saint Michel, the Fontaine Saint Michel is a monumental fountain that beautifies the streets of Paris. It was treated as a reconstruction project during the French Second Empire (1858-1860) and reflected French history accurately. Walk around the monument and learn about the history of its construction while there.
2. Sainte-Geneviève Library
Located right across the square from Pantheon, the Sainte Genevieve Library is a public university library housing thousands of old and new books on its shelves. The library suffered the French revolution and was renovated and reconstructed several times to hold its structure. Browse some of its choicest collection to treat your inner bookworm.
A greek Catholic church in Paris, this place is one of Paris's oldest religious buildings alongside the Notre Dame Cathedral. It displayed the fantastic Romanesque style of architecture and was built during the 13th century. While exploring the Latin Quarter, spend some time at this gorgeous church to pray in peace or be enriched about history.
4. Square René-Viviani
Adjacent to the church Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre, this square is one of the most lively places in the Latin Quarter. Explore the bustling shopping streets and the sacred mountains located here for an authentic glimpse into France’s intriguing past. You can also frequent the literary centres and museums located around the place to entertain yourself
5. Collège des Bernardins
This former Cistercian college is a part of the University of Paris. It was founded by Stephen of Lexington and acted as the residence place of Cistercian Monks living in the area at the time. As a part of the University of Paris, it is now used for meetings, dialogues, cultural programs and special functions.
It is also an important theological and biblical study centre frequented by tourists who want a deep insight into the local religious traditions and customs.
Other Essential Information About Latin Quarter
Interesting Facts about the Latin QuarterThe Latin Quarter is deemed to be one of the oldest neighbourhoods in all of France. Its existence is as early as 2000 years, and it has always been as readily accessible as it is today. It is a very diverse neighbourhood mostly frequented by the Parisian Youth. Not long ago, the Latin quarter was an unrivalled historical gem dating back to the first century.
France’s love for knowledge and the importance that the government pays to education is best reflected in this neighbourhood, with numerous universities dotting its streets and attracting exclusive tourist crowd on occasions like the Bastille day.
The Davioud’s fountain located at the Saint Michel Boulevard is undoubtedly one of the most famous tourist spots of the area. It is the primary observation point for people visiting the place since almost all of the significant sites can be viewed from here.
Apart from educational centres, the Latin Quarter has a lot of churches, demonstrating the religious significance of the area. Several inexpensive bars, restaurants and bistros are scattered all across this neighbourhood, and all of these cater to students. As a tourist, you should enjoy its narrow lanes, mighty churches and gorgeous monuments while capturing plenty of pictures.
Places to Eat at Latin Quarter
1. La Grotte de Chypre
This restaurant is one of the best places in Paris to enjoy Mediterranean cuisine at an affordable price. Try dishes like fresh veggies meze and grilled meat for the best culinary experience at this restaurant. Do not forget to try their drinks.
2. Les Crêpes de Louis-Marie
One of the staples of French cuisine is delicious and soft crepes. This place, as the name suggests, serves the best pancakes almost anywhere in Paris. Enjoy sweet or savoury crepes here depending on your preference and take home some of the best gastronomical memories of Paris with you.
3. Café Latin
One of the poshest and classy bars located in Paris, the Café Latin is open all day round. You can enjoy a refreshing breakfast, a fulfilling lunch or a romantic dinner here on the same day and taste some of the best dishes of the diverse French cuisine. They also serve speciality coffee and unique drinks.
4. Le Coupe Chou
With an ivy coloured façade and a wooden architecture, Le coupe chou is a relaxing restaurant where you can try exceptional French champagnes and dishes like foie gras and figs chutney while listening to smooth jazz or soothing classical music.
Places to Stay in Latin Quarter
1. Hôtel d'Aubusson
Located close to the Notre Dame cathedral, the Hotel d’Aubusson is a luxe stay where you can enjoy facilities like free wi-fi, paid parking and indoor pools. The mezzanine sleeping areas and the intricately decorated lobby give this place a homey feel.
2. Grand Hotel Saint Michel
This fully air-conditioned hotel is equipped with services like free wi-fi, parking facility, laundry services and suites with whirlpool tubs. It also has a cellar dining room with exposed stone walls and vaulted ceilings.
3. Albe Hotel Saint Michel
This budget hotel is conveniently located near to the most significant tourist monuments of the Latin quarter and features soundproof rooms, free wi-fi, coffee making equipment and minibars within each room. You can also avail of daily laundry services.
4. Citadines Saint-Germain-des-Prés Paris
Located across from the Pont Neuf Bridge, this famous luxury hotel features unique one-bedroom apartments with separate living rooms. It also has free wi-fi, both indoor and outdoor pools and paid parking.