Quartier Latin - Saint Germain - PanthéonSee the next district
The little intellectual universe of Paris was already bubbling in the 17th century, taking over Saint-Germain-des-Près and the Latin Quartier, so named because of the university courses given there in the language of the ancient Romans. Though the language may be dead, the student tradition still lives on!
Around the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Près, everything is evocative of the intellectual existentialists who established the intellectual reputation of Paris in the 1960s. Institutions such as the Café du Flore, Lipp and Deux-Magots will have you following the footsteps of Sartre or Beauvoir, Godard or Truffaut, Juliette Gréco or Miles Davis, Prévert or Vian. Not far from there, go into the long-lived La Hune bookshop. And at the Petit-Saint-Benoît, have a meal while admiring the compartments where they store the napkins and bottles of wine of the regulars, such as Jean-Paul Sartre or Merleau-Ponty.
A stone’s throw away is the Sorbonne, the gold standard when it comes to the humanities. In May of 1968, slogan-chanting students filled the Boulevard Saint-Michel up to the Saint-Michel fountain, which depicts the struggle between good and evil, and which today is a meeting place for lovers.
This is the right area of the city to find books and music, at Gibert, notably. Many pubs on the Rue Saint-André-des-Arts, such as Corcoran's Irish or the Mazet, allow you to immerse yourself in the Parisian student life, in addition to the historical café Procope, frequented by Diderot or Voltaire in their time.
After a show at the Odéon theatre or a film at the MK2, you might like to have a meal at Mondrian, at the Relais Saint-Germain, at the Éditeurs or at the Avant-scène.
Further east, la butte Sainte-Geneviève, named after the patron saint of Paris, invites you to the Pantheon, a grand neoclassical temple built to commemorate France’s greatest. Zola, Hugo, Voltaire, Rousseau, Carnot, Jaurès, Malraux, Jean Moulin and many others are buried there. This monument will have you contemplating the history of French thought.
After a stop at the Sainte-Geneviève Library, where you just might bump into Umberto Eco, you can continue walking up to the Latin Quarter, with its constellation of bookshops, pubs and restaurants. Near the ancient Arènes de Lutèce, the adorable Place de la Contrescarpe will bring you towards Rue Mouffetard, very festive in the evening. One night, you’ll have to go to the Grenier de Triana or to la Casa Pepe, then to the Mayflower, the Bateau Ivre or the Maison de Verlaine.
- Saint-Germain-des-Prés swimming pool (covered market)
- Monnaie de Paris (Paris Mint) and the Palais Conti
- The Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Près
- The quays of the Seine and the booksellers
- The Pantheon
- Sainte-Geneviève Library
- Arènes de Lutèce
- The Sorbonne
- Place de la Contrescarpe