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Place Monge, Latin Quarter, Cluny La Sorbonne, etc


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THE REAL LATIN QUARTER | PARIS

Published by Oat Sitalasai — 4 years ago

It can be said that the quartier latin or the latin quarter of paris is one of the most spoken areas of the french capital. If you were to ask my fellow classmates about this area of the city, most would compliment it for the dynamics of the bar culture as well as a place where many students would be hanging out. For this adventure though, I would like to share with you all another side of the latin quarter, as well as the very reason it is called quartier latin.

THE REAL LATIN QUARTER PARIS

Just a little background about this place, we will start off at an almost unknown metro stop, called place monge, located on line 7 of the plan, a route that travels from north to south, from villejuif – louis aragon or mairie d'ivry to la courneuve – 8 mai 1945. this station in the 5th arrondissement of paris is actually one of the most central locations when referring to the paris of the past. Just east of the main latin quarter area, this metro stop is the best spot to kick start this trip. Once you get out from the metro, just walk along the main street, which is rue monge, and just on the very same side of the station, you will see an entrance to what looks like a very roman-styled alleyway. As you could see below, the entrance to this very place has got a symbol that really represents the roman times, but wait until what you see inside. While you're at it, you might as well snap a photo like i did, since this is quite hard to find in paris considering the haussmann-inspired buildings throughout the city.

THE REAL LATIN QUARTER PARIS

THE REAL LATIN QUARTER PARIS

THE REAL LATIN QUARTER PARIS

You will now enter to square des arènes de lutèce. if you have difficulty finding this place, you can just look out for the address 49 rue monge, 75005 on google maps. Now, what is again really interesting about this place - according to our personal tour guide who is also our teacher and a paris-born and raised resident - is that this spot is one of the most treasured remains from the ancient period of gallo-roman years. What this period refers to is that of the roman empire with influences from modern france, which once went by the name of gaul. While the whole area of gaul also referred to parts outside of france like belgium and luxembourg, this very spot in paris has been preserved to represent what was left from the times of the roman rule.

THE REAL LATIN QUARTER PARIS

If you noticed the entrance into the square, you will realise that the symbol just at the top of the entrance is that of a gladiator. And yes, now the connections are making sense. Roman times, gladiator, square. this square was a amphitheater that accommodated up to 15, 000 spectators, who were drawn in to witness an ancient past time of gladiatorial combats. The history of the place goes way back to its construction by the romans back in the 1st century, but that's story for another occasion. Let's fast forward to somewhat recents times when the famous victor hugo, as well as the committee "la société des amis des arènes" agreed to preserve this slice of history. I mean, this made perfect sense when our guide explained to us that while paris was transforming into the city of haussmann's eyes, it was also important to keep the history of the city that made it what it is today. Alright, enough of history class for the square, you're more than welcome to wander around here, and even grab yourself some food for a picnic on a nice day!

Let's soldier on to the next spot. Just exit the square from the very same entrance, and continue on your right along rue monge until the traffic light. Here, I will take you along rue du cardinal lemoine, in which you should turn left into. If you want to skip all the historical landmark stuff at square des arènes de lutèce, then you could just take the metro and get off at cardinal lemoine, which is on line 10, or the yellow one from boulogne – pont de saint-cloud to gare d'austerlitz. Just a quick mention, from this metro station, streets full of bars and restaurants are just within a few minutes of walking. Assuming that we're doing this during day light, let's save the drinks for a bit later, shall we? So just when you're continuing along rue du cardinal lemoine and thinking that you're lost since there's nothing to see, turn right into rue clovis, which should be the second street from our intersection.

THE REAL LATIN QUARTER PARIS

I'm just going to sneak in another piece of historical information. clovis was the ruler of gaul, which was then france, and is considered by many to be the founder of what we now recognise as france. Let's once again skip the history lessons associated with him and move on to what you can expect from this street. About 30 steps into the street, you will see what is the remaining of what was once a wall that divided the center of paris from its suburbs. One could assume that the purpose of the wall was to actually protect the city from invasions and battles. The wall, if i'm not mistaken, goes by the name of wall of philip ii augustus. A portion of the wall is visible today, in the middle of the city!

THE REAL LATIN QUARTER PARIS

From here, keep going down the street until you see what is an absolutely stunning church on your right hand side. Here, you're at saint éthienne-du-mont, a very famous site in the area. This catholic church is stunning both from the outside and the inside. I won't go into detail of its history or the religious association, but all i would say is, the architectural elements of this place are fascinating. Everything from the floors to the stained glass to the different sections of the church, wow. The church is definitely worth a quick stop.

THE REAL LATIN QUARTER PARIS

THE REAL LATIN QUARTER PARIS

Moving right along very nicely, a few steps from the church you will see the one and only, panthéon. This is arguably the number one attraction in this area. In my opinion, this area and the buildings around panthéon are as important as the eiffel tower or the arc. panthéon was initially constructed as a church but has gone numerous changes and have now taken on the responsibility of acting as the resting spot for the remains of respected french citizens. The structure of the building has taken up inspiration from the panthéon in rome, italy. I've never been inside the actual building, but i've been recommended by many people to spare some time to appreciate this piece of work. Just to draw you in even more, some of the famous french people resting here include voltaire, the aforementioned victor hugo, emile zola and marie curie. This is very similar to les invalides, which serves for the same purpose for the well-known napoleon as well as other people. For more information on this massive attraction, check out the link to their official website just at the bottom of this post! While you're at it, take a photo from the side of panthéon at the traffic light, overlooking the other side of the street and if the weather and the sky permit, you will get an incredible view of the city, to the eiffel tower.

THE REAL LATIN QUARTER PARIS

From this very point, if you just go straight down the road from panthéon on rue soufflot, for two blocks, you will reach the garden of luxembourg. If you'd like to know what i think about this wonderful open space of beautiful garden, then check out my previous post on the garden of luxembourg a few weeks back. If not, turn right into rue saint-jacques, and you will head along the street of the landmark université paris-sorbonne on your left, and another equally famous institution, the college de france on your right hand side. As popular as the université paris-sorbonne may be, I was told that the more respected and sought after institution is actually the college de france. I was also informed that classes at college de france are free and both you and i are more than welcome to sign up and attend it. The professors that work here have also been carefully selected and are the best of the best. My teacher also told me that a teacher that has college de france on their profile is worth more than other institutions! Before the unfortunate terrorist activities in france and elsewhere in europe, visitors were able to go pass the gates and have a look at the school ground. However, this is not prohibited as security measures have been put in place to avoid attacks.

THE REAL LATIN QUARTER PARIS

At the end of the block, make a left turn into rue des écoles then right into place paul painlevé just on the side of a small park. Here, you will see another interesting building in front of you, the musée de cluny - musée national du moyen age. For a small fee, you can go in and discover various displays, such as artifacts from the medieval period as well as other works sculpted works and works from gold, stained glass and even ivory. If you'd prefer to view it from the outside, the building is another in the area that is worth stoping by.

THE REAL LATIN QUARTER PARIS

THE REAL LATIN QUARTER PARIS

Just as you exit from the very entrance you came in from, you will be merged onto rue de sommerard. At the end of this uneventful street, you will see the well preserved ruins from the roman times on your right hand side. I actually have no idea how far back these ruins go, but they're very similar to what i had seen in cyprus. The style is almost the same, so it's fair to say that it goes back a long, long time. You can't get too close to it, but it's interesting enough to see through the fences. And bam, you're back to the dynamics of the modern-day paris again! The end of rue de sommerard merges with the main road, which is boulevard saint michel.

If you would like to just walk up and down this street, you'll feel right at home in paris. If you ever need a place to sip some coffee, charge your phone and at the same time, benefit from the free wifi (connection is decent), then stop by at the starbucks coffee literally right across from the ancient ruins. Alternatively, a more parisian way of taking a break would simply be: heading over to monoprix (rue pierre sarrazin, just at the corner of where starbucks is), grab yourself a french pastry (probably a pain au chocolat or a chausson aux pommes which is your apple turnover), grab a drink (arizona iced tea is divine) and then head over to the park just at the corner of the boulevard. I am unsure as to what the park is called, but you're more than welcome to head in, grab a seat on the bench, and watch as the world goes by.

If anything, you're already at metro station cluny - la sorbonne at this point, which will get you straight onto line 10, again the yellow one. Should the cultural activities not satisfy you for the day, how about some shopping? h&m, sephora, gilbert joseph and many more shops are just a few minutes walk away.

Once again i hope that my insight on what is a really nice and educational walk of the 5th arrondissement has been an eye opener to you guys. As much as i love to wander in and out of shops and shopping districts of the city, I also find the history and cultures of the capital as fascinating, so get out there and explore!

If there's something that we learned from this afternoon stroll, it would be that paris always has something new to offer in terms of tourism. I would say that the path we had taken on that day was something that most tourists would have no idea about. This is why it's so awesome to have a guide, or a local with you to show you around! Good luck following my half decent explanation of the direction of this route, and if you do manage and succeed, you are guarantee to enjoy the walk as much as we did!

saint-éthienne-du-mont church :

hereby you will find the website. The info is available in english and french.

panthéon :

this is the link for the pantheon. You will find it available in english, french and spanish.

musée de cluny - musée national du moyen age :

here is attached the link to the museum. You will find the website available in english, french and spanish.

If you like the content of this post, or just want to check out some pictures that i take on my adventure, feel free to like and/or follow me on instagram at oat93, cheers!

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