In today’s video tour we’re going to explore one of the liveliest and most popular areas of Paris, the Latin Quarter.
There is so much to see in this area, this will be the 1st episode of a three-part series dedicated to the Latin Quarter. Make sure to check out Part 2 of our Video Tour of the Latin Quarter and Part 3 of our Video Tour of the Latin Quarter. You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel to get all the latest videos.
Paris Neighborhood Video Tour: The Latin Quarter – Part 1 (5:12)
Located on the Left Bank of the Seine River in Paris, where the Roman city of Lutetia once stood, the Latin Quarter stretches from the river to the top of Mount St. Genevieve, a hill named for the city’s patron saint. Why do so many people flock here, tourists and Parisians alike? Let’s take a look.
The name Latin Quarter has nothing to do with the Romans who once lived here. Instead, it goes back to the Middle Ages, when this was the haunt of students and their teachers. The university started as a school attached to the cathedral. Teaching took place outdoors, under the arcades of the cathedral cloisters. In the 12th century, many people moved to the Left Bank, and soon after, colleges were founded, including the Sorbonne, which began in 1257. Today, not only the Sorbonne, but other universities and higher education institutions are still located here.
So, why is it called the Latin Quarter? Well, it comes from the fact that Latin was spoken here, not only in the universities and colleges which taught in Latin until the 1700s, but also in the streets. In the early days, students flocked here from all over the world. They might not have been able to speak each others’ languages but they could all speak Latin. So they communicated in Latin here, in the area where they lived and studied.
The Saint-Michel fountain is a popular meeting place amongst everyone in this area of Paris. Stretching out in front of the fountain is one of the boulevards constructed by Haussmann in the 1860s as part of Napoleon III’s project to rebuild Paris. This is the boulevard Saint-Michel, called affectionately the Boul’Mich. The fountain with Saint Michael killing the dragon was designed to give a beautiful finish to the boulevard. The square to the side of the statue, the place Saint-André des Arts, is a great place to sit at a café.
Tiny streets of the Latin Quarter (Rue de la Harpe/Rue de la Huchette/Rue Xavier Privas)
Across the street and around the corner, you’ll find a taste of the old Latin Quarter. This area still has its narrow medieval streets, identifiable by the gutter running down the middle of the street. Once filled with medieval students and teachers, craftsmen, merchants, and knights of the royal guard, these streets are as bustling as ever. They are now home to many picturesque multi-ethnic restaurants.
It’s difficult to enjoy your morning coffee and a vintage book from the Latin Quarter in a boring hotel room. For an authentic Latin Quarter experience, make sure you book a furnished apartment in the Latin Quarter or a Latin Quarter vacation rental for your next trip. Living like a local will greatly enhance your time in the lively city of Paris.
Take a look at this fully furnished 1-bedroom apartment rental which is located in the Latin Quarter (PA-2557). Along with its fully equipped kitchen including a dishwasher, this apartment features a washer and dryer, TV with cable channels, a dining table and a double sized sofa bed for different sleeping arrangements. This rental is in the heart of the Latin Quarter and within walking distance of the Seine River and Notre Dame cathedral. The whole neighborhood surrounding Notre Dame is lovely and offers plenty of activities to do.
Or we have this furnished studio apartment located in the 6th arrondissement of Paris (PA-22), which is also equipped with a washing machine and of course a fully equipped kitchen. With nice views and a lot of light, this apartment is a perfect place to call home during your time in Paris, located just off of Boulevard Saint-Michel.
Finally we might suggest this furnished 2-bedroom, 1 and half bathroom Paris apartment (PA-1759), which is situated on the 5th floor of a 7-story elevator building. One bedroom is furnished with a double bed and one with a single bed. The living room is furnished with a double sized sofa bed for extra sleeping accommodations. The rental also includes a dining area, as well as a balcony, perfect for a satisfying stay in the Latin Quarter of Paris.
The Eglish Saint-Séverin is considered the most beautiful Flamboyant Gothic church in Paris. At one time, its tower dominated all of medieval Paris, somewhat like the Eiffel Tower today. In the eastern end of the church you will see wonderful pillars called the “palm grove”, where ribs fan out to become the ribs of the ceiling.
Rue Saint-Jacques was once a main road through the Roman city of Lutetia. It got its name in the Middle Ages, when it was used by pilgrims travelling from Paris to Compostella in Spain, to visit the relic of the body of Saint James.
Along the route you will find a chapel by the name Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre. It is the oldest gothic church in Paris. Also, you can see a couple of the old medieval houses near the church.
We have covered a lot of ground today in the Latin Quarter here in Paris. If we missed any of your favorite spots, be sure to share them in the comments section below.
We hope to see you soon in the Latin Quarter. As they say in Latin, bonum cursum, or in French, bon voyage!