Right south of Île-de-la-cité, the Latin Quarter is especially known for its art cinema houses, bookstores and numerous restaurants, whereas St. Germain-des-Prés used to be Paris’ center of intellectuals and philosophers. Stroll along the alleys and get the feeling!
Monuments and History
The Panthéon is one of the most important sights you surely shouldn’t miss during your city walk in Paris. Dedicated to Paris’ patron saint Sainte Geneviève, it was completed in 1791. Its crypt serves as a mausoleum for the “Champions of French liberty” such as Voltaire, Rousseau, Pierre and Marie Curie and many others.
If you are interested in a more ancient part of history, visit the Arènes de Lutèce, a gallo-roman arena from the 1st century.
Right next to the metro stop St.-Germain-des-Prés, you will find the St. Germain-des-Prés church which gives the neighborhood its name. Its foundations were laid during the 6th century but only the church is left. The other parts were destroyed during the French Revolution. At night, the surrounding area is full of artists and mimes.
St. Sulpice church is one of the biggest churches of Paris with an extraordinary façade, designed by Giovanni Servandoni. Among other things, it is famous for having been featured in Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code.
Furthermore, you should not miss the Great Mosque of Paris. It enchants with blue and green mosaics and a marvelous garden on the inner courtyard.
Your city walk will certainly lead you to some wonderful museums. The Cluny Museum hosts an enormous selection of medieval art. Otherwise known as Le Musée National du Moyen Âge, it is considered one of the most important sights in Paris. Its most famous piece is a series of tapestries called The Lady and the Unicorn. Moreover, the National Museum of Natural History located in Luxembourg Garden and the Institut du Monde Arabe are definitely worth a visit.
Explore the narrow alleys between Rue du Petit Pont and St.-Michel boulevard! On Rue de la Huchette and Rue de la Harpe, restaurants and street cafés follow one another. In fact, this is a rather touristy area. If you prefer a more authentic atmosphere, Rue Mouffetard is probably the right place to go. At night, numerous restaurants, bars and cafés open their doors. From Tuesday to Sunday, Rue Mouffetard has one of the most beautiful markets of the city.
Don’t miss the venerable cafés in St-Germain-des-Prés during your city walk! The Procope was Paris’ first coffee-house. It was frequented by famous intellectuals and philosophers like Rousseau or Voltaire. The Café de Flore, the Deux Magots and the Brasserie Lipp have a similar history. Rue des Canettes, Rue Guisarde and Rue Princesse assemble to a very lively quarter with more bars and restaurants.
Queen Marie de Médicis established the Luxembourg Garden in 1612. On a surface of more than 60 acres, it includes various gardens, playgrounds, the Pavillon de la Fontaine, the Medici fountain as well as the Musée du Luxembourg and the Palais de Luxembourg, the seat of the Sénat.
The Jardin des Plantes is the main botanical garden of Paris. Among other museums, it houses the National Museum of Natural History, an aquarium and a zoo.
Other places you should not miss
The Sorbonne University lies behind a small square framed by trees and cafés. In 1253, the Sorbonne was established as a theological school and gives the Latin Quarter its name since Latin used to be the language of scholars. Renowned high-schools are located all around the neighborhood. Therefore, this area is still lively and full of students.
South of Notre-Dame Cathedral, Shakespeare & Company is a bookstore known for its great selection of English books. It is an important place of literature and history since it was frequented by famous writers like Ernest Hemingway. Its extraordinary interior creates a cosy and even mysterious atmosphere.
Guided Walking Tours
Of course, you can book various walking tours guided by locals who give insider tips. If you are interested, please check the offers online. Still, if you prefer to discover the city independently, go your own way. Take your time and get the Parisian feeling wandering through its beautiful streets!