Latin Quarter Paris

Guide to the Latin Quarter of Paris

The Latin Quarter is an incredible area of Paris that you need to visit when you’re here. The medieval area is steeped in history and has so much to see and do. It’s not just a museum district either, with a bustling student population it has plenty of great restaurants and bars! Read on to discover more about the area, what to see and where to stay.

Our guide is written by someone who actually lives in Paris and has done for the last 8 years. So read on to discover more about the incredible Latin Quarter of Paris!

This guide is in the following sections:

What is the Latin Quarter and Where is it in Paris?

The Latin Quarter of Paris is located in the city’s 5th arrondissement on the left bank of the city. It’s an Medieval area filled with historical monuments dating back thousands of years and picture perfect, ancient streets.

Home to Paris’ oldest universities, the area is bustling with it’s dense student population which makes it particularly diverse. It’s not just student bars and libraries though – there’s plenty of incredible monuments to see and beautiful streets to discover.

The quarter is also home to the stunning Panthéon atop of the Montagne Sainte-Geneviève hill overlooking the city. Go further to the east and you’ll walk down one of the oldest streets in the capital and even ancient Roman ruins.

Practical Information

The Latin Quarter is easy to explore and access from the rest of the city. You can easily explore the area in a day including a visit to the Panthéon.

I’d advise bringing comfortable shoes (there are a lot of cobbled streets) and a bottle of water. Note that there are free to use public fountains around the quarter to refill your water bottle.

What to Do & See

There is so much to do and see in the Latin Quarter and our guide covers only the must-do’s!

Square René Viviani

The Square René Viviani is a small garden next to the busy main road adjacent to the Seine with views on the Notre-Dame cathedral. Dating back to the early 1900s, the garden is an interesting spot to start a tour of the Latin Quarter. Why is it worth a visit? It’s a small park that’s absolutely steeped in history. In the centre of the garden you’ll find the oldest tree in Paris, a locust tree planted in 1601. This ancient tree is surrounded by a circular bench – it’s hard to miss!

At the back of the garden you’ll find the Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre church which is one of the oldest churches in the capital dating back to the 12th century. Finally, scattered around the park you’ll find chunks of carved stone – these pieces are actually from the Notre Dame cathedral that were removed during a renovation works in the 1800s.

Shakespeare & Company Bookshop

The Shakespeare and Co. bookshop is just around the corner from the Square René Viviani and is a famous English language bookstore.

The original bookshop was started in 1919 but eventually closed during the Nazi occupation in WW2 and never reopened. Some 30 years later the bookstore was reopened by a new owner, George Whitman, who kept the same name. The bookstore quickly became a well known meeting spot for anglophone writers. They even have accommodation for writers (they’re called tumbleweeds) wanting to live in the city in return for volunteer work!

Next door to the bookshop they have a café with views over to the Notre Dame cathedral. It’s a great spot for a coffee break during your exploration of the area!

The Panthéon

The Panthéon is up there as one of the city’s most recognisable monuments and it’s definitely worth visiting. The mighty building lies atop of the Montagne Sainte-Geneviève hill and is visible from across Paris.

Designed to be a church dedicated to the city’s patron saint, Saint Genevieve, King Louis XV ordered the construction back in the mid 1700s. Construction first began in 1758 and was finished 32 years later, in 1790 (right in time for the start of the French Revolution!).

After the revolution, the National Assembly decided to turn the church into a mausoleum for the country’s most famous citizens. You’ll find the tomb of Victor Hugo and Josephine Baker. You can buy advanced tickets to skip the queues here.

Church of Saint-Étienne-du-Mont

The Saint-Étienne-du-Mont church is located right next to the Panthéon on the Place Sainte-Geneviève. This ancient church dates back to the late 1400s when construction first began and eventually (it took a very long time to build) it was consecrated in 1626.

It’s free to enter and is definitely worth a quick visit. The gothic interior is stunning with incredible details on the vaults and stained glass.

An interesting part of the church is in the beautifully gilded Chapel of Saint-Genevieve where you’ll find the shrine to St. Geneviève, the patron saint of Paris. Her original tomb was destroyed during the French Revolution but the shrine contains surviving fragments and relics.

Rue Mouffetard

The Rue Mouffetard is up there as one of the most famous streets in Paris. It’s also one of the oldest surviving streets in the capital dating back to the 13th century. The 650m road starts near the Panthéon and winds down to near the Censier Daubeton metro station. Untouched by Baron Haussmann’s transformation of Paris, the street has retained it’s old Paris charm and that makes it a must visit.

In the day it’s a gem of a street for shopping and discovering incredible produce from small grocery shops. As the sun goes down, the street comes alive as all the bars open up and partygoers descend on the area. There are over 100 bars on the street and it’s a great place for a drink at night!

It’s a real Parisian street where people live, work, eat and socialise. There aren’t many “authentic’ Parisian streets in the city but this is definitely one!

Grand Mosque of Paris

The Grand Mosque of Paris is definitely an underrated attraction to visit in the city. Located about a 5 minute walk from the middle of Rue Mouffetard, I’d recommend stopping off here before visiting the nearby Jardin des Plantes.

The mosque itself has different sections including a giftshop, Hammam, tearoom and restaurant. I’d definitely advise visiting just for the beautiful central courtyard and garden. It’s a beautiful place to walk around and take a break from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding streets. The Moorish architecture is stunning with deep blue Moroccan inspired mosaic tiles and keyhole arches around grand, wooden doors.

The tearoom is a fantastic spot for a break (especially after a long walk) and has the same beautiful Moorish decor as the courtyard. Instead of waiting to order, there are waiters that come round with mint tea and North African pastries and you choose and pay directly.

Arènes de Lutèce

The Arènes de Lutèc is an incredible (and surprisingly unknown) ancient Roman amphitheatre dating back to the first century AD. The 15,000 capacity arena saw gladiator fights and was even flooded for boat combat.

Today it’s a park with the old upper, staggered seating sections transformed for picnics. The lower section is completely flat and you’ll often find children playing soccer.

If you want to see more Roman remains, there’s the old Roman baths in the Cluny Museum in the west of the Latin Quarter.

Paris Jazz Corner

Finally, if you like Jazz then there’s a gem of a music store right next to the Arènes de Lutèce. Stocking a huge collection of vinyls, CDs, posters and books, it’s a great spot to pick up a souvenir from your trip to the city of light.

Where to Eat & Drink in the Latin Quarter

There are some fantastic restaurants in the Latin Quarter and we’ve got a separate guide on our favourite spots here.

If you want to eat in great French restaurant I’d recommend Baca’v, it’s a fantastic modern bistro that’s even in the Michelin guide.

Low on time? There’s an array of great fast-food spots in the Latin Quarter that cater for the student population. One of my favourite Greek kebabs is from Casse Croute Grec and is close by the Panthéon. Alternatively, Au P’ti Grec is a really popular sandwich and crêpe spot on rue Mouffetard. Finally if you’re looking for a nice café then I’d recommend TRAM which is a really lovely café-bookstore near the Panthéon.

If you’re looking for a night out then Rue Mouffetard and the very animated side street Rue du Pot de Fer is where you want to go. Famous for the cheap student bars, there’s a fun, friendly atmosphere and is perfect for a great night out.

Where to Stay in the Latin Quarter

The Latin Quarter is a great place to stay in the city and we’ve got an in-depth guide on the best hotels to stay here here. For quick reference, here’s 3 of our favourite hotels:

  • Les Jardins Du Luxembourg

The Les Jardins Du Luxembourg is a fantastic 4* hotel right next to the Jardins du Luxembourg, on the border of the Latin Quarter and the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area. The hotel is very modern and is ideally located in a quiet, residential area.

  • Select Hotel

The Select Hotel is another great 4* hotel in the heart of the Latin Quarter. Only a 5 minute walk from the Panthéon, it’s an incredibly located to explore the surrounding areas and the rest of the city. The hotel is really modern but has plenty of old Paris charm with exposed wooden beams in the rooms.

  • Hotel des Carmes by Malone

Want to stay in a beautiful design boutique hotel? The Hotel des Carmes by Malone is stunning 4* hotel on the footsteps of the Panthéon. The whole of the hotel has in a retro meets modern vine and the stunning design features are everywhere.

FAQ: The Latin Quarter

Why is it Called the Latin Quarter?

The area is called the Latin Quarter due to the fact that it’s home to the oldest universities in the city. Latin was the language that the courses were taught in back in the Middle Ages – hence the name!

Is It Safe?

Yes the Latin Quarter is a very safe neighbourhood. Like any areas in the city there will always be scams and pickpockets. Check out our guide on how to keep safe in Paris.

How to Get There

The Latin Quarter is well connected with 3 Metro lines running through it. You can get into the heart of the area by taking Line 4 (west side), Line 10 (centre) and Line 7 (south and east).

How to Get to the Eiffel Tower from the Latin Quarter

Getting to the Eiffel Tower from the Latin quarter is really easy. You have two options which are direct:

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