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The Left Bank and The Latin Quarter

Exploring a neighborhood that inspired great minds from Hemingway to Sartre
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 3.3 miles
Duration: Half day

Overview :  The Left Bank (or "La Rive Gauche") has been the center of work and play for artists of all sorts for hundreds of years. Its gardens... more »

Tips:  This tour is designed for daytime hours when sites like the Jardin du Luxembourg and Pierre Hermé’s patisserie are open. The route is ... more »

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Points of Interest

This station is on the 6 line. You exit onto a big open boulevard. If you go on a Wednesday or Saturday morning there will be a food market along this street with fresh produce, meats and cheeses, as well as an assortment of hot snacks to take away. Go on a Sunday morning and you'll find an art market.

Visits to the top of the tower are offered to tourists. There is also a restaurant on the 56th floor that is open to the public.
Address: 33, avenue du Maine
Phone: 00 33 (0) 1 45 38 52 56
Hours: April 1 - September 30: 9:30am - 11:30pm; October 1 - March 31: Sunday through Thursday 9:30am - 10:30pm, Friday and Saturday 9:30am - 11pm
... More

Boulevard Edgar Quinet also offers one of the only unobstructed views of the controversial Montparnasse Tower. It is the only skyscraper in Paris' city center and it will probably stay that way. The French found this building so offensive that, shortly after its construction, they banned all buildings of this size within the city limits. Whether... More

Continue southeast on Boulevard Edgar Quinet and after a short distance you'll be at the entrance to the Montparnasse Cemetery. Walking along its quiet lanes, you forget that you're in a major city. You can use the map to locate the resting places of numerous French legends, among them poet Charles Baudelaire, rock star Serge Gainsbourg and... More

5. Rue Campagne Première

After wandering the cemetery, exit onto Boulevard Raspail, jog south a little and cross over to Rue Campagne Premiere. On the corner, directly across from the Metro stop, stands an impressive Art Deco façade. This used to be the studio of American avant-garde photographer Man Ray.

Rue Campagne Premiere has been home to countless artists. Composer... More

Follow Rue Campagne Premiere through to the busy Boulevard Montparnasse, cross the street and take a right. On the corner you will find this famous brasserie. Hemingway fans will recognize this spot as his favorite writing sanctuary in "A Moveable Feast." Legend has it, it is here where Fitzgerald first had Hemingway read the manuscript for "The... More

Take a left past Closerie des Lilas and you will see the entrance to the Jardin Marco Polo, an extension of the Jardin du Luxembourg, with its striking Fontaine de l'Observatoire (Fountain of the Observatory). The Jardin Marco and the Jardin de l'Observatoire lead up to the main gates of the Jardin du Luxembourg. You can walk through the rows of... More

8. Bocce Ball Courts

Any time of year you can find Parisians from all walks of life hanging out by the bocce ball courts. Barring rain or snow, they will be out there.

9. Creperies

If you are ready for a snack, there are a number of little snack booths in the Jardin du Luxembourg that serve up hot crêpes and coffee.

10. Pool

In the warmer months, families surround the central pool and you will see mothers sunbathing as their children guide toy sailboats across the man-made pond. If you feel inspired, they rent boats to those who come unprepared.

The Luxembourg Palace is still home to the French senate, so you will see a number of gendarmes (police) patrolling.

Once you have thoroughly enjoyed the gardens, make your way out via the northwestern exit and walk up Rue Bonaparte. After a couple of blocks you will reach a large square with a monumental fountain and the enormous Saint-Sulpice Church, the second-largest in Paris next to Notre Dame. Look closely and you will see the discrepancies that arise when... More

13. Delacroix Murals

Art fans will want to pop inside to appreciate the side chapel decorated with murals by Eugene Delacroix.

Just kitty corner from the church on the northwest side is a Pierre Hermé boutique, the Parisian mecca of macaroons. If you are not sure what a French macaroon is, this is the place to find out. Adventurous eaters can try bold flavors like foie gras or black truffle, but don't worry, they have traditional flavors as well!

Address: 58 avenue ... More

Farther down Rue Bonaparte, you will arrive at the lively intersection surrounding the church Saint-Germain-des-Prés. This area is always bustling with activity and there is often a crowd watching street musicians in front of the church.

The area is packed with cafés and brasseries that were frequented by famous 20th century artists and is known ... More

The café on the corner, Café des Deux Magots, is one of the most famous. Legend has it that Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir were regulars.

Address: 6 place Saint-Germain-des-Prés
Phone: 01 45 48 55 25

17. Eats

There is no shortage of restaurants in the area, but I list a couple of my favorites in the next POIs.

18. Pizza del Papa

First off, there's Pizza del Papa on Rue de Buci. They serve authentic Naples-style pizza and refined entrees for a decent price. It has a classy interior with white linens and the service is formal, but friendly for a Parisian joint. The profiteroles (cream puffs) are to die for.

Address: 38, rue de Buci
Phone: 01 46 33 91 15
Hours:... More

19. Cosi

Another more casual option is Cosi on Rue de Seine. This gourmet sandwich shop makes their delicious bread in a brick oven visible from the front counter. They use fresh, high-quality ingredients for their whole menu and offer a decent list of organic French wines.

Address: 54 Rue de Seine
Phone: +33 1 4633 3536
Hours: Daily 11:30am -... More

After you have filled your belly, take a leisurely walk down to the Seine and stroll down the Pont des Arts, a lively bridge that runs between the Louvre and the Institute of Fine Arts. It's lined with locks of hair that numerous lovers have attached over the years in demonstration of their eternal love. In the warmer months, people sit all along ... More