Latin Quarter

The Latin Quarter is a very vibrant part of Paris with many schools and a University

Enjoying the thriving cafe culture in the Latin Quarter of Paris
Enjoying the thriving cafe culture in the Latin Quarter of Paris cc licensed photo by zoetnet

Most cities around the world have their various "quarters". Paris is no different. The reason why the Latin Quarter is called that is not because it was historically inhabited by people of Spanish descent, but rather because the students of the various Universities in that area were only allowed to speak Latin to their professors right up until the French Revolution.

The Latin Quarter can be found on the left bank of the River Seine near Sorbonne. It is still a primarily student populated area, though most of them do not speak Latin any longer. Some establishments that call this area home are the Ecole Normale Superieure, the Ecole des Mines de Paris, the Schola Cantorum, the Jussieu university campus and the Ecole Polytechnique, the most recent addition to the educational institutions in the area.

The Latin Quarter is cut in half by the Boulevard St, Germain and the Boulevard St. Michel. There are literally hundreds of smaller, rather crooked streets that run from these main tributaries. It is on these many small streets that you will find all the fascinating cafes and restaurants and small shops that populate the area.

If you find the intersection between the two main streets you will not be far from the famous Cluny Museum. This museum was once an ancient Roman Bath and you will find a number of incredible artifacts from those times still inside the museum. Some of the exhibits include the "Lady and the Unicorn" tapestries as well as the original heads of statues from the Notre Dame cathedral. There are plenty of stained glass and exhibits of stone work and early paintings.

There's also lots to see if you walk along St Michel Boulevard. Some people prefer the cafes which are further up the street than the Cluny museum as they tend to be a little more traditional while others prefer the more modern tastes of those placed more centrally. This is something that you will have to decide for yourself.

There is so much to see and so much to do that one cannot detail it all in a reasonable amount of space, but you are guaranteed to find something of interest in this fascinating area.

Area attractions: Musee de Cluny and the Notre Dame Cathedral

Directions

Metro / RER Line Nearest Station Walking Time
M4 or M10Cluny - La Sorbonne‎0 minutes
M7Pont Marie3 minutes
M4 / RER-B and CSaint-Michel - Notre-Dame0 minutes

How to get to Latin Quarter by Metro / RER

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Enjoy a walking tour through Paris' Latin Quarter in this video

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