Rue des Ecoles in the 5th District

Old Dec 18th, 2002, 09:34 PM
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Rue des Ecoles in the 5th District

Hi All,
I am looking at the California Saint-Germain Hotel in the 5th district in Paris (exact address - 32, rue des Ecoles). I reckon the area is very safe and vibrant. And I would like to stay on the Left Bank in 'the epicenter of it all'. Shall I look up a hotel a little East or West or South of California St-Germain or is this the ultimate location for the first trip?
Old Dec 18th, 2002, 09:59 PM
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Hi Vincent. I'm relatively new to Fodors, but I've picked up that you need to be as precise as possible to get the help you when you're going, price range and other needs/expectations that will help those willing to help.

I'm not familiar w/that particular hotel, but others have mentioned it. I would find out how close the nearest metro stop(s) are for instance.

I have stayed at the Grand Hotel de l'Univers (6 rue Gregoire) located off boulevard St. Germain and rue Bucci. It is a 15th century Maison whose old wine cellar has been turned into the breakfast room. It is near both Odeon and St. Germain metro stations (6th arrondissement) and has several wonderful eateries just around the corner--Paul's (fantastic bakery/dinette), L'Arbucci's all you can eat oyster bar (which has jazz at night) and chez Allard (my husband's fav.)as well as all that is available on the blvd. This is a three star. Rooms were small for the 250-280ff but well appointed. Back rooms are quieter than the front ones, but I like watching the neighborhood activinties.
Old Dec 19th, 2002, 03:43 AM
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I stayed on that street last March at the Minerva(next door to the better known Familia). It was number 13 so very close to the California but I don't recall that hotel. The Minerva was very nice, 83 euro for a double. Wonderful little pattisserie right across the street from it where we had breakfast every day, and sometimes lunch. Nice street, about 15 minute walk to Notre Dame and Place St Mich. While I wouldn't not stay there again, I kind of prefer being even closer to the center of the 5th/6th (Place St Mich) and there are tons of similiar hotels in the area. You said you wanted to be in the epicenter of it all. I would say this area of Rue des Ecoles is about 10-15 minutes from the "epicenter".
Old Dec 19th, 2002, 05:15 AM
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I can't speak for the hotel, but the location is a very convenient one.
Old Dec 19th, 2002, 05:26 AM
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Vincent, your hotel is in the Latin Qtr. which is a great place to stay. Ann says it's around 10-15 mins. away from the "epicenter". It would be nicer to stay closer to Blvd. St. Michel as it's close to rue de Buci which goes to the St. Germain area. I prefer the St. Germain area than the Latin Qtr. By the way, the hotel that Ann mentions is actually called Minerve instead of "Minerva".
Old Dec 19th, 2002, 05:39 AM
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Hi Vincent,
If you go to
you can find a map of the area around your hotel.
You are about 2 blocks from a Metro stop.
Old Dec 19th, 2002, 06:14 AM
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Hi Vincent, this is Vincent. Your hotel seems fine to me, with two reservations:
1) Only Fodorites see the Left Bank as "the epicenter of life" in Paris. A quick look at the map will show you that such a point actually hovers around Les Halles/Le Marais. And those in the know are aware that only Swedish au pairs and American tourists hang around in the Latin Quarter - charming though it remains. Real Parisians head for Bastille/Oberkampf/Belleville, but after all you are not a "real Parisian", so you could be forgiven...
2)Rue des Ecoles is a nice place, but beware, it is quite noisy. So insist on having a "chambre sur cour", a room on the back, to avoid street noise.
Old Dec 19th, 2002, 06:37 AM
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Friends stayed at the California and liked it very much. The Brasserie Balzar is right there so it must be some sort of "center".
Old Dec 19th, 2002, 06:52 AM
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Thank you for your replies. At this point I'm not really concerned about the amenities of California St. Germain Hotel - all I wish is to stay in the most interesting and vibrant and authentic spot of the Left Bank. From your responses I got a drift that I perhaps should consider moving a little west to the 6th District...
Look forward to hearing from you.
Old Dec 19th, 2002, 08:27 AM
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I walk past your hotel every year when I stay in Paris. You're in a great spot, and the R des Ecoles is a fine Parisian street. You'll have access to lots of restaurants, shops, bakeries, etc. If you're looking for a "more central" location in the 5th, you can probably find one...but at most you're only 5 minutes away.
Old Dec 19th, 2002, 10:21 AM
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To clarify what I said above - when I mentioned the epicenter (which you said you wanted to be near) I was referring to Place St Mich which is where the 5th and 6th and 1st come together. It is very lively, lots of cafes and restaurants - but also lots and lots of tourist shops. Right across the river from Notre Dame. It's an epicenter, but I wouldn't call it all that authentic a neighborhood. It's very touristy. The area on rue des ecoles is more residential which most people would consider more authentic. So I guess you need to decide if you want more of an authentic Paris neighborhood (although some people will tell you to go the outer areas in that case) or to be in a lively touristy area. By the way, I don't think there is anything wrong with either of these.
Old Dec 19th, 2002, 02:35 PM
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There was a Q regarding this neighborhood last month. You can read the thread at . Unfortunately "parisgirl" has not posted a trip report (that I have found) on the Fodor's forum. Anyway, you will be in an action neighborhood.

John Bermont
Old Dec 19th, 2002, 04:10 PM
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I stayed on Rue des Ecoles at the Familia and I loved the neighborhood. Certainly not all American tourists and Swedish au pairs. Tons of fascinating bookstores, small independent movie theaters, restaurants with many types of multicultural cuisine, including many middle eastern places from several countries and many wonderful French restaurants, excellent bakeries, stimulating street markets, a short stroll to the Seine. Several metro lines near by to head in every direction.
Old Dec 20th, 2002, 07:52 AM
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Thank you all!
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