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Degas Paris Walks - Latin Quarter (Jan 06)

Degas Paris Walks - Latin Quarter (Jan 06)

Jan 29th, 2006, 02:00 PM
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Degas Paris Walks - Latin Quarter (Jan 06)

Okay, I updated this one. Would appreciate feedback on the info found below, plus suggestions on other places to see, things to do, viewpoints, and where to eat and drink/or people watch.

Latin Quarter Exploration - 5th Arrondissement.

Start: Metro Censier-Daubenton or Place Monge

Best Time: Right after breakfast, any day but MONDAY.


47, rue Monge et rue de Navarre. Metro: Cardinal Lemoine. 2C amphitheatre, important Gallo-Roman site. The Arena of Lutèce (Roman name for Paris) was long forgotten when it was excavated in 1883. It is a quiet space away from the city streets. This arena could contain 15,000 people. It covered approximately 132 m/100m



MOSQUÉE DE PARIS (Paris Mosque) is beautiful pink marble mosque built in 1922 to honor North African countries that helped France during WWI. Made of reinforced concrete, the mosque was decorated with mosaics, wood carvings and wrought iron brought from Morocco. It remains an active place of worship for North Africans living in Paris. Visitors are welcome at the Paris Mosque and short tours are given of the building, its central courtyard, and its Moorish garden. Guides also present a brief history of the Islamic faith. In the winter, the main attraction for locals are the marble Turkish baths. In summer, students from nearby universities and tourists gather for couscous and sweet mint tea at the Muslim Restaurant de la Mosquée de Paris (tel. 01-43-31-18-14). The restaurant adjoins the courtyard of the mosque and is open daily from noon to 3pm and 7 to 10:30pm.

Location: 39 rue Geoffroy St., HilairePlace du Puits-de-l'Ermite, 5e, Metro: Monge, Open: Sat-Thurs 9:30am-5pm, Cost: 3€ adults, 2€ students/children

[link=www.mosquee-de-paris.org newwindow]www.mosquee-de-paris.org[/link]


Down the rue Mouffetard at #145, this church has attractive paintings, stained glass and great organs inside. It has a strange history that unites religion, politics and miracles. Strange tales of “convulsionaries” coming to eat graveyard dirt where the pious local champion François Pâris (to whom people attributed the gift of healing), caused the city to close off parts of the property. A wise-cracker soon wrote on the wall " By King's order, it's prohibited to God to make a miracle on these premises". But now, the church sits tranquilly surrounded by a quiet park with lovely trees and non-edible flowers.


This ancient narrow street works as in centuries past - where people live, shop, eat and meet. Rue Moufftard is one of the city's oldest streets - a remnant of an old Roman road to Rome via Lyon. In the mornings, the lower half is a lively open market with people from the area shopping: entrepreneurs shouting prices; hogs heads on a butcher's stand, vegetable carts, beggers, neighbors meeting for a coffee. You can discover old signboards, small squares and passages.

Number 122 - La Bonne Source, a shop sign from 1592.

Number 60 - Fountaine du Pot-de-Fer, a small fountain dating to Roman times, and later connected to an aquaduct used by Marie de Médicis to bring water for the Palais du Luxembourg and gardens.

Number 45 - Gelati d'Alberto

Number 14 - In this house, Madame du Barry, a favorite of King Louis XV, had an affair with a young black boy named Zamor. When they were discovered, Zamor was arrested and guillotined. There is a painted sign dated 1748 and reading Au Negre Joyeux on the exterior of the building.

Number 6 - Tanners and butchers working in the area used the river Bièvre - long built over - as a sewer. Two golden oxen carved in bas-relief at no. 6, remain as a testament to these ancient trades.


Picturesque Place de la Contrescarpe, built in 1852, which soon acquired a reputation as a haven for the homeless and pigeons. Hemingway lived around the corner on Rue du Cardinal Lemoine. Today, the square is far more upscale and dominated by two outdoor cafés, La Contrescarpe and Café Delmas - magnets for local residents, students, visitors and the ever present pigeons.


At 73 rue du Cardinal Lemoine.
[link=www.lostgeneration.com/paris.htm newwindow]www.lostgeneration.com/paris.htm[/link]


75 rue du Cardinal Lemoine, stop for a quick view of courtyard


Crypt of Ste Genevieve, patron saint of Paris. Built 1492-1626, magnificent architectural feature of a rood screen along with wonderful stained glass. Sainte Geneviève was a nun. In 449 the Franks lay siege and she led an expedition to bring back supplies which enabled the resistance to continue. When Attila the Hun, in 451, threatened to march on Paris, the inhabitants decided to abandon the city. Genièvieve assembled the women of the town to fast and pray. She emerged to tell the Parisians: "Forsake not your homes for God has heard my prayers. Attila shall retreat" Attila did bypass Paris.


Louis XV vowed in 1744 that if he recoverd from an illness he would build a church to the glory of the patron saint of Paris: St-Genèvieve. The overall design was that of a Greek cross with a massive portico of corinthian columns and it is a vast building 110M long by 84M wide, and 83M high with a huge crypt. Complete in 1789, the Revolutionary government turned it into a mausoleum for great men: Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Emile Zola, and Jean Moulin - Resistance hero during WWII.


11 Rue Pierre & Marie Currie

LA SORBONNE (UNIVERSITY OF PARIS): quick view of courtyard and galleries

47 rue des Ecoles, Métro: Cluny la Sorbonne, Open: 0900 to 1800, mon-sat.

Robert de Sorbon founded a college in 1253 for theology students without money. The pope approved of the idea, and it later became the University of Paris. Student life was ruled by a rigorous class schedule with rising and studies into the evening. Cardinal Richelieu was elected president in 1622 and decided to rebuild it all. The Sorbonne Church was begun in 1635, and is the home of Richelieu's tomb, and Girardon's sculpture of the Cardinal. The chapel is the only building still standing from this era. The Sorbonne was rebuilt again in 1883 in order to provide more room.

NOTE: Brasserie Balzar is close by at 49, rue des Ecoles
Subway : Cluny La Sorbonne
Phone : 33 (0)1 43 54 13 67

COLLEGE OF FRANCE: quick view of statues in courtyard

MUSEE DU MOYEN AGE, every day except Tue, 0915 to 1745
6, place Paul Painlevé, Métro: Cluny la Sorbonne

The Musée National du Moyen-Age Thermes de Cluny is comprised of two important sites. One is a 15th century Gothic mansion containing a wide selection of medieval art, as well as a collection of original sculptures from the facade of Notre Dame. Next to the mansion are 3rd century Gallic-Roman baths, including a ``Frigidarium'' (cold room) and a Jardin Medieval.


23 quai de Montebello, Métro: St-Michel

It is one of the oldest churches in Paris and is a small and intimate concert space - a magical place for classical music of all kinds. This church dates from the 12C, and the area keeps the same feel. A half-timbered house stands to the right of the entrance. Many buildings in medieval times were built like this, with a wooden frame filled in with a plaster of mud, straw, and dung.

"...Yet the hubbub of Paris seemed to die at the edges of that small solitude where I loved to come and think. The silence around me was like a dwelling in which the past sought refuge; that inner peace seemed to hold a real feeling of Romanesque France, of which St. Julian's ancient stones offered a tangible image" from "St. Julian the Poor", Paris, by Julien Green.

The story of St. Julian became popular during the Middle Ages. he is said to have been of noble birth, married wealth, and was welcome at court. While hunting one day, a stag spoke to him, predicting that Julian would kill his own parents, which he subsequently, accidentally did. Filled with remorse, he travelled to Rome seeking forgiveness then settled with his wife at the crossing of a large river. There they operated an Inn/Hospital for travellers, the sick and poor, and provided a ferry service. A leper who the saint put up in his own bed, was a messenger from God who granted forgiveness for his error. He became a popular patron of Innkeepers, boatmen and travellers and is often identified in art with a stag or a boat. Following a brief period of abandonment, the old church was acquired in 1889 by a Greek Melkite Catholic congregation. Reconsecrated retaining St. Julian's name, it is one of France's two active parishes of this Byzantine Rite.
[link=www.people.ku.edu/~asnow newwindow]www.people.ku.edu/~asnow[/link]

Square Rene Vivianni (garden next to church )


This little gothic church took a century longer to build than Notre-Dame. It has many gargoyles. This weird, winged species of flying mammal was said to swoop down on unwary peasants, occasionally carrying off small children in their beaks.

Ancient Streets: Rue Galande, Caveau des Oubliettes (#5) has real guillotine and spooky underground medieval dungeons.

Looking along nearby Rue Galande, you'll see a few old houses built every which way. In medieval days, people were piled on top of each other, building at all angles, as they scrambled for this prime real estate near the main commercial artery of the day — the Seine. These narrow streets would have been dirt or mud. Originally the streets sloped from here down into the mucky Seine, until modern quays cleaned that up. Many Latin Quarter lanes were named for their businesses or crafts. The rue de la Bucherie, (or, "butcher street," just around the corner, in the direction of the river), was where butchers slaughtered livestock. The blood and guts drained into the Seine and out of town.

Rue de la Huchette
Rue Xavier-Privas
Rue du Chat-qui-Peche


The fountain in Place St. Michel, done by Davioud in 1860, is decorated with the group of bronzes which includes St Michael slaughtering the dragon.

This is often said to be the core of the Left Bank's artsy, liberal, bohemian district of poets and philosophers. For colorful wandering, afternoons and evenings are best. In the morning, it feels sleepy. In times past, it was a gathering point for the city's malcontents and misfits. In 1830, 1848, and 1871, the citizens took the streets from the government troops, set up barricades Les Miz -style, and fought against royalist oppression. In World War II, the locals rose up against their Nazi oppressors (read the plaques under the dragons at the foot of the St. Michel fountain). And in the spring of 1968, a time of social upheaval all over the world, young students battled riot batons and tear gas, took over the square.


The Left Bank has been home to scholars, philosophers, and poets since medieval times. This funky bookstore is a reincarnation of the original shop from the 1920s. Back then it was famous as a meeting place of Paris's literary expatriate elite. Ernest Hemingway strangled and cooked pigeons in the park and "borrowed" books from here to survive. Fitzgerald, Joyce, and Pound also got their English fix here.
It has the best selection of used English books in Paris.

Finish Notre Dame


Maubert Market, Place Maubert, Tue, Thu, Sat, 0700-1400.
Metro : Maubert-Mutualite

Monge Market, Place Monge, Wed, Fri, Sun, 0700-1400.
Metro : Place Monge

Port Royal Market, Near Hospital Val de Grace, bd de Port-Royal, Tue, Thur, Sat, 0700 to 1400, Metro : Port-Royal.


Jody: You might want to include a walk thru the Jardin des Plantes, gardens and a wonderful old-fashioned zoo. If you walk all the way thru toward the Seine, you can exit on Quai St Bernard. Turn left and a few yards, down on the right , you come to the Musee de Sculpture de Plein Air on the right. Modern sculpture set along the river and very pleasant to walk thru on your way to Notre Dame.

Elaines: You could also add in a stop at Val-de-Grace church 1 Place Alphonse-Laveran for info


Check opening hours The French Queen Anne of Austria had it built to celebrate, after many years of childless marriage, the birth of her son, the future Louis XIV. There is an old proverb: In order to understand the French, you have to appreciate
Camembert cheese, Pont Neuf, and the dome of Val-de-Grace.

degas is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 03:17 PM
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Cato is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 05:59 AM
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Nice little wine bar: Le Verre à Pied

You can choose among a dozen wines by the glass. At lunch there is a "plat du jour" at 8 Euro, small "assiettes de saucisson" at 4E , "salade de chèvre chaud" (goat cheese salad) at 6.5E, and sandwiches. Wine list is : Touraine Sauvignon; Abymes de Savoie ; Montlouis 1/2 sec ; Gewurtzstraminer ; Bordeaux cotes de Blaye;Chinon; Quincy; Plan de Dieu- Cotes du Rhone ; Cote de Brouilly; Muscadet.

Address is 118 bis rue Mouffetard . Metro:Censier-Daubenton (between Chatelet and Place d'Italie ). Open everyday except monday. Closes sun at 3 pm and other days at 8.30 pm.
degas is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 06:30 AM
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Les Pipos in the 5th arrondissement looks like another good wine bar.

It is close to the Pantheon and to Rue des Ecoles & Boulevard Saint Germain, and also Rue Mouffetard. Closest subway stations are Maubert Mutualite and also Cardinal Lemoine.

Exact location is rue de l'Ecole Polytechnique and rue de la Montagne Sainte Genevieve

degas is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 07:35 AM
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Degas - Thanks for another interesting walk. I realise you can't mention everything of interest but feel that when the walker gets to Square Rene Vivianni next to St.Julien-le-Pauvre, they should take a look at the OLDEST TREE in Paris. Can't miss it right next to the church and shored up partially with concrete.
Looking across from it over the narrow street is a flea-pit of a hotel described as "Bohemian" where the actor Terence Stamp once stayed, called the Esmeralda. The view of Notre Dame from the rooms on the street make up a little bit for the poor furnishings.
When leaving the Pantheon, the walker should stand on the corner of Rue St.Jacques and Rue Soufflot for a moment. Looking ahead just across the Seine you'll see the 15th century Tour St.Jacques. On the right the great dome of the Pantheon. A mile away on your left the magnificent Eiffel Tower and behind you the Arenes De Lutece.
You will truly be standing at the corner of the centuries!
tod is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 07:45 AM
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tod, your insightful inputs are exactly what I need to give this little walk some passion!
degas is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 08:13 AM
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Couple of places to eat

Le Navigator: rue Galande,5e metro Maubert Mutualit&eacute. Servestraditional French cuisine at lunch and dinner to 11pm Tuesday to Saturday.

Perraudin: rue Saint Jacques, 5e, metro Luxembourg). Classics such as boeuf bourguignon, gigot d'agneau or confit de canard, and reasonably priced. Open for lunch weekdays and for dinner to 10.15pm, Monday to Saturday.

Le Vigneron: 18-20 rue du Pot de Fer, 5e, metro Place Monge). Maybe the best French restaurant in the quarter, specialises in south-west cuisine.

Les Vignes du Pantheon: 4 rue des Fossés Saint Jacques. 5e, metro Luxembourg).
degas is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2006, 08:57 AM
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degas is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2006, 03:48 PM
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Especially pleased to see two of your entries:
*Hotel des Grandes Ecoles. (You can't do any better in terms of accommodations.)
*Perraudin (An excellent choice for dinner. Make sure you get there early, as it fills up fast!)
HowardR is offline  
Feb 12th, 2006, 04:04 PM
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Possible quick stop:

You might rub elbows with chefs seeking inspiration at La Librairie Gourmande (4 rue Dante, 5, Quartier Latin, Paris, France. PHONE: 01-43-54-37-27, Métro: St-Michel), a nonpareil collection of cookbooks, rare titles on wine and spirits, gastronomic studies, and anything else to do with the pleasures of the table.
degas is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2006, 09:12 AM
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Thanks for the feedback - anybody else want to chime in?
degas is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2006, 11:37 AM
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Degas: We are staying on rue St. Jacques near St. Severin Church. How far would it be to Perraudin Restaurant? Is this a local or tourist place? Thanks
sebinah is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2006, 11:44 AM
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Walking distance - my notes say it is at 157 rue St-Jacques. Plug your hotel address in Mappy and check it out?
degas is offline  
May 18th, 2006, 02:04 PM
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JanNZ is offline  
May 18th, 2006, 03:54 PM
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Reading this makes me long for my next trip to Paris. I love the Latin Quarter!
Sue4 is offline  
May 18th, 2006, 04:01 PM
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Here's site I like showing you the passages

cigalechanta is offline  
Aug 8th, 2007, 03:51 PM
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Here's the update for those who were bookmarking the 2003 version
degas is offline  
Aug 11th, 2007, 04:21 PM
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thanks....planning for 2008
GranthamMommy is offline  
Aug 11th, 2007, 04:30 PM
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Thanks, degas. This will come in handy for my trip planning!

cigale - I cannot get the link to go to English, only the home page. Am I just missing it, or is it not available? It looks like a wonderful resource. Thanks!
kopp is offline  
Aug 12th, 2007, 10:33 AM
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Our first trip to Paris from Canada was back in the early 90s.

After a long flight we checked into the very charming Hotel des Grandes Ecoles. I opted to try and catch a few winks while my husband took our then 6 and 9 year old girls for a walk.

Within 20 minutes, they just had to come back and take me to see Place de la Contrescarpe, in that gorgeous twilight setting as the lights came on. What a breathtaking introduction to Paris.

Thanks for reviving some wonderful memories.

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