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st-germain, city walk

City walk: Latin Quarter & St.-Germain-des-Prés

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

Latin Quarter, city walkThe 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.

Religion

Grande Mosquée, city walk, Latin QuarterRight 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.

Museums

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.

lady and the unicorn, musée du moyen âge, city walk, quartier latin

Gastronomy

rue mouffetard, city walk, latin quarterExplore 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.

Parkscity walk, fontaine medici, luxembourg garden, latin quarter, st-germain-des-prés

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.
city walk, shakespeare and company, Latin Quarter

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!

 

Related Posts:

The Latin Quarter : what to see, what to do

Saint Germain des Prés

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Bois de Boulogne

How to explore Bois de Boulogne

With its 2100 acres Bois de Boulogne is the 2nd biggest park in Paris. It is located between the western suburbs and River Seine. The area used to be the hunting ground of the French kings until it was turned into a modern park by order of Napoleon III.

During the day, this space is perfect for family and sport activities. It offers playgrounds, picnic areas and a boat hire on Lac Inférieur as well as 9 miles of cycling routes and 17 miles of bridle paths. You can take a break at several restaurants and fast food stalls all around the park, such as Châlet des Îles on the island in Lac Inférieur.

  1. Find your way through Bois de Boulogne

Bois de BoulogneThe north

Here is where you find the museum Fondation Louis Vuitton – a building of extraordinary modern architecture which was designed by Frank Gehry and hosts different fine-art exhibitions. The zoological garden called Jardin d’Acclimatation is located right next to the museum. It offers theme park attractions like pony rides in addition to a cultural program and a marvelous landscape.

The center

Most of the central part of the park consists of wooded areas and the two artificial lakes, Lac Inférieur and Lac Supérieur. Those are popular with their running and walking paths. Boats can be hired on the north-eastern shore of Lac Inférieur.

Located in the heart of Bois de Bologne, Pré Catelan includes the Jardin Shakespeare. Jardin Shakespeare hosts a large collection of plants mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays as well as Théâtre de Verdure which is turned into Paris’ largest open air theater in summer.

The botanical garden Parc de Bagatelle is in the north-west of the area. This park is especially beautiful because of the interplay of its magnificent landscape, wildlife, its Anglo-Chinese pagodas and the Château de Bagatelle built in the 18th century. Watch the colorful peacocks roaming between huge trees and beautiful ponds! Make sure you don’t miss the fabulous rose garden with its 10,000 rose bushes where exhibitions, events and classical concerts take place in summer.

Bois de Boulogne

Bois de Boulogne

The south

In fact, you can find sports fields in all corners of the park, for example basketball, hockey and rugby fields or a bowling pitch. Though, most of them concentrate on the southern and western part. Besides, there are hippodromes and tennis stadiums at the southern end. Apart from the sports activities you can go for a stroll in Jardin des Poètes or the botanical garden Jardin des Serres d’Auteuil where you can admire numerous species of tropical plants.

  1. Getting there

You can reach Bois de Boulogne easily by using public transport. Bois de Boulogne is served by metro lines 1 (Porte Maillot), 2 (Porte d’Dauphine), 9 (Michel-Ange-Auteuil) and 10 (Porte d’Auteuil) and the RER C (Avenue Foch, Avenue Henri Martin). You can also use the bus lines 32, 52, 63, 73, 82, 241 or 244 which serve stops on the borders and those inside the area.

In case you plan to go there by car, there are several roads crossing the park. You can leave your car at one of the car parks inside the area so that you don’t have to walk all the way from the entrances to your destination.

  1. Discovering the park

Bois de BoulogneIf your time is limited and you don’t want to spend a whole day in the park, we would recommend to go by bike and explore the cycling paths in Bois de Boulogne. You can either use your own one or borrow a bicycle from one of the numerous Vélib’ stations all around the area. If you are not able to use Vélolib’, there are two bike hires (av Mahatma Gandhi, av Foch).

Of course, there are wonderful walking paths, too. If you would like to visit the park on foot, make sure you have enough time – the park is large! Stroll around, relax on a bench at the lake and enjoy the fresh air! Public drinking fountains are provided so that you don’t have to carry heavy bottles.

  1. Important tips and information

  • Please take note that Bois de Boulogne turns into a red-light district at night, especially along the Allée de Longchamps!
  • Before your visit, download a map of the park in order to find your way more easily.
  • Think about what you want to visit and plan your route in advance. The area is large!
  • Please be aware that there may be fees for entrance and activities in the different gardens.
  • Several websites located the Musée en Herbe inside Bois de Boulogne. It is not! In fact, the museum is located in the 1st arrondissement. Its current exhibition is called “Hello, my game is…” – a contemporary art exposition about video games.

 

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