As a French teacher, part of my job was to bring students to one of the many countries that speak French, and the student’s choice was usually Paris. After 18 student trips, several family trips, and living in France for a year, there are certain things about Paris I love, and one section in particular.
I fell in love with the Latin Quarter when I was a student in France. Everything is slightly less expensive there, and that was important to a student on a budget. The Latin Quarter has an ambiance about it that I don’t feel in other parts of Paris. It feels as if things move a little slower there, and there is more of a neighborhood feel.
There is a wide variety of food and places to eat it. There are food stalls, fast food restaurants, cafés where you can sip a coffee and watch the world go by, and cozy neighborhood coffee houses. One of our favorite cafés is called le Périgord. It is on Rue Des Écoles and it is always busy for a good reason. It is common in Paris for locals to frequent a neighborhood café. At Le Périgord, there are cubbies with napkins and cutlery inside each box. Each cubby is marked with a patron’s name. My husband ordered steak and mashed potatoes, and the waitress came out with a large pot and a ladle. She spooned out a large portion and laughed when my husband’s eyes grew wide. He said, “Jen, I feel like I’m in my grandmother’s house for Sunday dinner, not in a restaurant.”
If you enjoy nature, you can walk over to the Luxembourg garden, learn about the flowers, the vineyard, and the beehives, watch a tennis or pétanque game, as well as all sorts of other activities. There is a café/food stall if you need a drink or snack, and there are plenty of chairs if you want to sit and relax.
If you want to shop, Boulevard St. Michel has lots of stores, or you can go to the mall at Les Halles. If you like books, Boulevard St. Michel has quite a few and so does Rue Des écoles. There are also two second-hand cd stores on Rue Des Écoles if you want some French music.
There are many places to visit in the Latin Quarter. There is St. Chappelle, Notre Dame, Shakespeare, and Co., The Panthéon, and the Luxembourg garden. The Orsay museum can be reached after a beautiful walk along the Seine.
I hope you have a chance to visit Paris, and especially the Latin Quarter.
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