The Latin Quarter City Orientation

Top Reasons to Go

Musée de Cluny. On the site of an ancient Roman bath, this former abbey is home to the famous The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries; the building, tranquil garden, and extensive collection have the hush of a medieval monastery.

Shakespeare & Company. This legendary English-language bookstore is more than a shopping destination; it's a meeting place for young expats and literature-loving travelers alike.

Rue Mouffetard. Whether you’re a gastronome or just plain hungry, you’ll be enthralled by the array of characteristically French edibles sold on this winding market street.

Jardin des Plantes. This garden is a great spot to enjoy a picnic or to rest your tired feet on one of the many shaded benches.

La Grande Mosquée de Paris. Relax with a little glass of mint tea in the leafy courtyard café at Paris's most beautiful mosque.

Making the Most of Your Time

The Quartier Latin is the perfect place to wander sans itinerary, though there is no shortage of sites worth seeing. Shopping here is generally more affordable (but less original) than in other neighborhoods, and there are lots of new- and used-book stores, many of which stock English-language titles. Pick up picnic supplies in the food shops along Rue Mouffetard or the open-air market at Place Monge (Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday until mid-afternoon), then savor your booty on a bench at the Jardin des Plantes. Linger over mint tea at the lovely Grande Mosquée de Paris or take in a terrific view from the roof of the Institut du Monde Arabe. Stroll the hilly streets around the Panthéon on your way to see the treasures at the Musée de Cluny. Finish with a sunset apéritif on one of the barge cafés (open spring to fall) along the Seine, across from Notre-Dame.

Getting Here

The Quartier Latin is in the 5e arrondissement. Take métro Line 4 to St-Michel to start exploring at the Lucifer-slaying fountain near Shakespeare & Company, across the Seine from Notre-Dame. Go to the Cluny stop on Line 10 if you're heading to the Musée de Cluny. The Place Monge stop on Line 7 puts you near the Panthéon and Rue Mouffetard, the Mosquée de Paris, and the Jardin des Plantes. Les Gobelins neighborhood straddles the 5e, 13e, and 14e arrondissements, but is considered part of the 5e because of the Manufacture des Gobelins.

Best Cafés

Cave La Bourgogne. Settle in on the terrace of this old-school bistro for lunch, or join the locals at the zinc bar. 144 rue Mouffetard, Latin Quarter, Paris, Île-de-France, 75005. 01–47–07–82–80.

La Pie Noir. Located just across the street from the Prefecture de Police museum, this Breton-influenced restaurant serves up delicious frog legs and other traditional fare at very reasonable prices. 5 rue de la Montagne Sainte Geneviève, Latin Quarter, Paris, Île-de-France, 75005. 01–43–54–08–99; www.restaurant-lapienoir.com.

Les Patios. If you're young—or young at heart—come here to hang with the Sorbonne crowd. 5 pl. de la Sorbonne, Latin Quarter, Paris, Île-de-France, 75005. 01–43–54–34–43.

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