Latin Quarter of Paris

Latin Quarter of Paris

There are several streets in the Latin Quarter that are given over mainly to pedestrian traffic. In the foreground is the rue de Buci, which merges into the rue St. André des Arts at the intersection up ahead. Here on the rue St. André des Arts, you can see the entrance to the tiny and charming Cour du Commerce, a purely pedestrian, cobblestone-paved street lined with shops and restaurants. It dates from the twelfth century. Within it you’ll find the small courtyard where the guillotine was first tested (on sheep!), and a fragment of the old city wall of Philippe Auguste. A restaurant called the Procope, which adjoins this street, has been around for 400 years, and has served the likes of Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. Like many small streets and galleries of its kind in Paris, this street is filled with a rather eclectic assortment of small, quirky shops and atmospheric cafés, which are interesting to visit in themselves. Visitors often tell me that this part of Paris “Looks like Paris is supposed to look” … whatever that means! Souvenir shops and a Métro station on the place St. André des Arts. There’s no shortage of souvenirs in this neighborhood! There are endless snack shops and modest restaurants in this area as well. You can find almost anything you want. The place St. Michel, with its large fountain and open plaza, is often considered the heart of the Latin Quarter. This band was playing on the plaza itself. My intuition tells me they are American, but I don’t really know. Since I’m a charitable soul, I won’t comment on their musical talent. They attracted a crowd, but it’s easy to attract a crowd in touristy parts of town. And pickpockets love it when tourists are distracted like this. You can see the fountain here, as people cross the boulevard Saint Michel, which is more or less the main streeet in the Latin Quarter. You’re looking roughly southwest. East of the boulevard St. Michel is a maze of twisty little streets, all different. This is the rue de la Harpe (“Harp Street”). A bit further south on the same street. That’s the boulevard Saint Germain at the end of the street. The rue Saint Séverin runs east from the rue de la Harpe. And the rue Xavier Privas runs north from the rue Saint Severin. It’s a narrow, enchanting little street lined with restaurants. There are lots of Greek restaurants here, which seems bizarre until you realize that there’s a large Melkite Greek Catholic church just east of this neighborhood. This is the rue de la Huchette, which also runs east-west in this pedestrian area. You’re looking west, towards the fountain. And this is looking the opposite way, towards the east (towards Notre-Dame, although you can’t see it here). Lots of people! The boulevard Saint Michel runs north-south right through the middle of the Latin Quarter. It’s a busy, one-way street. Listen for the fire truck, with its distinctive two-tone siren, just like the movies! The boulevard Saint Michel has lots of shops as well, many of which cater to the large student population in this part of Paris. Mostly trendy, young, (relatively) inexpensive merchandise … very different from districts like the Sixteenth! The iconic Joseph Gibert student bookstores. Starbucks came suddenly to Paris a few years ago, and now they are everywhere, for better or for worse. The boulevard Saint Germain runs east-west, and it’s just as clogged with traffic as the boulevard Saint Michel. The Sorbonne university dates from the 12th century. An arthouse cinema is nearby on the same street (rue des Écoles). The place de la Sorbonne is a wonderful, small plaza in front of the dome of the Sorbonne. A nice fountain and places to eat and drink. In summertime, this area becomes hugely crowded, with zillions of people eating and drinking outdoors. The inside rooms of these restaurants tend to remain empty in good weather (and because they have no A/C, in summer). At the bottom of the rue de la Harpe, there’s a “MacDo,” for those who can’t stand crêpes or Greek gyro sandwiches. The crêpe stand next door looks more popular, though. After tasting a French crêpe, you’ll understand why. There are traditional French restaurants between the Greek places and the fast-food restaurants. And souvenir shops everywhere you turn. There are dozens of crêpe stands in the Latin Quarter, plus a dozen sit-down crêpe restaurants as well. Crêpes with Nutella filling (chocolate and hazelnut paste) seem to be the most popular. There’s always a crowd in the Latin Quarter, except early in the morning. As night falls, the same streets (here the rue St. Séverin) develop a different but equal charm. Care for some roasted pig, or shredded lamb? In the evenings, the very well-known Latin Quarter jazz club Caveau de la Huchette features famous jazz artists. The Shakespeare & Company bookstore was near the Odéon in Hemingway’s time, but it has been here near the banks of the Seine River for many decades. These cafés and restaurants seem especially cozy to me at dusk. In this part of town (well, everywhere in Paris), souvenir shops are open into the evening. This is one of the excursion boats operated by the Bateaux-Mouche, the most popular excursion boat company in the city, in hot competition with the Bateaux-Parisiens, Vedettes du Pont Neuf, and many others. That’s it. Thank you for watching my video.

42 Replies to “Latin Quarter of Paris”

  1. I like this video. It is in my favorite nighborhood. Rue de Seine and Rue Buci. I stayed at the Hotel La Louisiane on Rue de Seine in the summer of 1964.
    And have been back many times to Rue de Seine and Rue Buci. I like the Asian carryout on Rue Buci. You walked right by it.

  2. My favorite neighborhood. Rue de Seine and Rue Buci.
    Although Gallerie Lafayette is a favorite. Especially the 6th floor cafeterian and then up on the roof for the beautiful views of Paris.

  3. @joebstewart For years it was a mystery to me. Then I discovered that the church St. Julien le Pauvre, which is right next to these streets, is the largest Greek Orthodox church in Paris (and also one of the oldest churches in Paris). That explains the Greek restaurants. And it also explains why people stand in the restaurant doorways trying to lure customers, I think—must be a Greek custom.

  4. Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre is not a Greek Orthodox Church, but a Melkite Greek Catholic Church, whose members are from the Near East — Arabs, basically –, with the term "Greek" referring to the Church's Byzantine heritage. Sorry!

  5. Merci beaucoup Mxsmaniac, someday I will have the pleasure of walking these Rues, meanwhile I will watch your videos.

  6. Your video is absolutely inspired, beautiful, and amazing! It truly takes me back to my first ever solo weekend in Paris and it's as if I'm looking at a journal entry coming to life:)

  7. haha what is the woman in the red coat doing at 8:26???

    Sorry, I just wanted to say that I really enjoy watching your videos. I watch them over and over again and everytime I recognize something else!

  8. Thank you for video, going to be in Paris this time next month and having never been there before, video's like this let you know what there is see and do.
    Can't wait to be there.

  9. Thanks for the video. I spent a week there 8 years ago to the day today and now wish I had spent 10 years there. Loooooved Paris. Tim -Anderson, SC

  10. I've watched many of your videos, and they are my favorite of Paris! Keep them coming! I've been to Paris 5 times, and would love to live there for a year or so, or at least return many times more. Thanks for doing such a great job with these! A bientot!

  11. I would to inform you that your video steals and posted on your channel
    "paristsitinfo". Sincerely your fan of Olga

  12. Now its nice in Latin Quarter but i would not to be in that area 150-160 years ago  when i read archive files who was preyed there at night on students most  and it was the era of  architect Baron George Haussman and his  rebuilding of city

  13. This movie captures in a short time the essence of the place, the cobblestone, small shops, restaurants, terraces, people walking, pedestrian passages, the architecture, street name signs, etc … thank you for uploading! I love it! Whatever you were testing, technique or else? Looks quite good to me!!!!!

  14. Sus vídeos son maravillosos, sus comentarios muy correctos y de excelente humor. I´m sorry d´nt watching them before today, july 17th 2007. Congratulations, and thank you very much.

  15. Ir a Paris e não dar um salto ao Quartier Latin para comer Kebab e comprar uns souvenirs e perceber de onde e como a cidade se expandiu é perder uma boa parte da magia da cidade! Roupas leves e sapatilhas e disposição para caminhar são itens essenciais para uma visita à idade média.

  16. I love gyros, and old streets, the people busying. there's nothing not artful in Paris. I was there once, got dumped the first time, but the second time was a beggars meander, although I didn't beg I used the soup kitchens, but even then it was filled with romance and a distant understanding from commercial society. if I ever make it through this hurt society (and I doubt it) I would love to sleep in a bed there, the flagstones were a bit of tough education. good luck.

    p.s. nothing shines above the ground.

  17. Wow !!

    Compare this refinement to the chaos, noise, crowds, violence, crime and neglect seen in Islamic nations or India where religious garbage and a basic lack of civilized behaviour rule out progress, class and reason.


    And to think that thousands of French Jews, mostly drawn from the middle or lower middle classes, emigrate to Israel each year either due to clannishness, lies told to them, religious nonsense or antisemitism seen in some parts of France is strange because in general life in France is refined, sober and pleasant.

    If fellow Jews feel israel is where they belong and that France no longer offers them safety and opportunities , then, wel, life in Israel is far from easy and the pressure cooker atmosphere, uncivilised behaviour, heat, hatred aggression, neck deep debts, backwardness of the Hebrew language, Jewish-Arab hostilities, thieving mentality that thrives on reverse enhineering, intellectual theft or handouts from the West, religious mumbo jumbo, threat of war, racism and substance abuse soon turn one into one into a desensitized, brutish and dysfunctional mental and emotional wreck.

    Moving from France to Israel is like jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

    Israel – a lunatic's paradise !!!

    Fellow Jews, stay put in France or relocate within France if need be but don't get taken in by false flags orchestrated by the Intel agencies and don't fall for the lies pushed forward by Zionists and others with vested and sinister interests.

    And, yes, waiting for the Mashiach (Messiah) is like waiting for Godot !!!

    Get on with life.

    Shabbat Shalom !!!

  19. You should add Les Deux Magots in your video. It’s pretty neat history even if the cafe isn’t that great. It’s in the Saint-Germain-des-Pres area.

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