Paris Latin Quarter Experiences

The Latin Quarter is located in the 5th arrondissement considered the intellectual center of Paris and acquired its name around 1253 when all students and professors at the Sorbonne spoke Latin. Student life was not always very calm! from the 12th through the 16th centuries with students such as St. Ignatius of Loyola (founder of the Jesuits) and Protestant reformer Jean Calvin. Today, bookstores including Shakespeare and Co., schools, churches, jazz clubs, Roman ruins, publishing houses, and boutiques, characterize the district. It is the traditional center of what was called "bohemian Paris" and formed the setting for Puccini's opera, La Boheme.

One can discover medieval Paris in the Latin Quarter. One can visit the 13th century Cordeliers monastery refectory, and the 15th century Cluny abbots' "townhouse" - now a marvelous museum on the Middle Ages, Place Maubert where a 16th century printer was burnt alive for heresy for having re-translated one of Plato's Dialogues, and the Bernardins Monastery refectory dating from the 13th century.

The area has always attracted the great artists, writers, philosophers, revolutionaries and musicians: Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau, Robespierre, Danton, Benjamin Franklin, Bonaparte, Victor Hugo, Verlaine, and Musset. Famous residents include Delacroix, Richard Wagner, Thomas Jefferson when in Paris, Racine, Ingres, and wealthy expatriate Natalie Barney who held literary salons for the "beautiful people" at her former residence. In the garden you can see a small Doric temple bearing the inscription "A l'Amitie" - to friendship. Place de la Contrescarpe made famous by Ernest Hemingway in his book "A Moveable Feast" about life in Paris. Gertrude Stein and her companion Alice B. Tokas lived nearby and opened their home to famous expatriates, writers and artists. Oscar Wilde lived in a hotel on Quai Voltaire while hiding from creditors. "My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or other of us has got to go," he remarked before passing..

Place St-Michel is the busiest spot in the Latin Quarter with its pink marble fountain, built in 1860, surrounded by cafes facing the Seine and Notre Dame. The Paris Commune of 1871 began here, as did the student uprising of 1968. Young French teenagers spent nights in its jazz clubs and cabarets. Many famous French singers sang in the clubs or lived in the area, such as Georges Brassens, Jacques Brel, Charles Trenet, and Charles Aznavour. The home where Serge Gainsbourgh lived on rue de Verneuil has become a graffitied shrine.

Costs :
Half Day Photo Tour 300€ per group of 4
3hr Market Visit or Wine Promenade 130€pp for 2
Dinner Package 119€pp for 2

Cost per person decreases with larger groups.

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Latin Quarter Photography Tour

From humble church to towering cathedral, Notre-Dame is the world-famous jewel in the crown of the Ile de la Cité, the original Paris before the city outgrew its island boundaries. But this whole area is steeped in history and secrets just waiting to be discovered. This tour offers participants an authentic city adventure and rare opportunity to experience the city from an insider’s point of view. Your professional photographic guide will point out details invisible to the untrained eye and reveal the best vantage-points on your chosen route. Learn to tell a story through images, take great shots of iconic monuments and capture atmospheric images off the beaten track.


Food Market Visit

Visiting a typical Parisian market is an experience that will make your senses tingle with delight. You will make your way through a sea of booths, listening to the friendly banter of vendors as they sell their colorful mosaic of fresh fruits, vegetables, spices, meats, breads and wine. We visit a different market each day.


Wine Tastings & Promenades:

Discover French wines right where the French themselves do it and at the same time experience the historic districts of Paris and its famous buildings. The Wine Tour is led by an English speaking wine enthusiast who is passionate about wine and Paris, who will will introduce you to 4 or 5 bars and cafes which locals frequent, and where we will have our wine ‘tastings’, including interesting selections from smaller producers. We will also explore this historic district of the Latin Quarter and its famous buildings and sites on our walk. We meet at the bottom of the picturesque rue Mouffetard with its history, myth and mystique.


Dinner, Vintage 2CV & Jazz Package:

At 7:30pm you are booked at a Fondue bistro located near rue Moufftard in the heart of the Latin Quarter. At 8:45pm your driver will meet you outside the retrenchment or as close as the car can be parked in a refurbished, vintage 2CV for a fun filled illumination tour. At 9:45pm you will be dropped off at one of the most famous traditional Jazz clubs in Paris where the greatest jazz men in the world have appeared regularly since 1946. You can stay as long as you wish and when leaving your are centrally located right across from Notre Dame. Every evening a jazz band performs for the listening pleasure of regulars and visitors alike.

Pantheon

Constructed by Louis XV in 1744 in gratitude for recovering from gout, this massive temple to the great men of France houses the bodies of Voltaire, Rousseau, Mirabeau, Marat, Victor Hugo, Emile Zola, and Jean Moulin (hero of the French Resistance during WWII). At the bottom of rue Sufflot one of the most beautiful gardens in Paris and the imposing Odéon Theatre designed in 1782 where Sarah Bernhardt once trod the boards.

Shakespeare & Co.

Situated on the Quay just east of Place St-Michel, moved here after its location on rue de l'Odeon. This charming and chaotic bookstore is housed in an old building and run by the charitable octogenarian George Bates Whitman and his daughter Sylvia Beach Whitman, who have made it a meeting place for writers and expatriates. Nearby, on quai de la Tournelle, is the famous restaurant, La Tour d' Argent.

Rue de l'Odeon once stood the original home of Sylvia Beach's bookstore "Shakespeare and Company" (1919-1941). She is particularly associated with Hemingway who lived 5 minutes away, and especially the publication of James Joyce's "Ulysses". She and her long time companion , Adrienne Monnier, encouraged and helped many American expatriate writers and poets, Ezra Pound, Archibald MacLeish, Thornton Wilder and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

It is now situated on the Quay just east of Place St-Michel. This charming and chaotic bookstore is housed in an old building and run by the charitable octogenarian George Bates Whitman and his daughter Sylvia Beach Whitman, who have made it a meeting place for writers and expatriates.

Rue Mouffetard

With its history, myth and mystique, Rue Mouffetard is a remnant of a Roman road going to Rome via Lyon and one of the oldest streets in Paris. It's market dates to 1350 and still retains a village atmosphere, with its famous picturesque open market that has functioned since 1350 on the lower part of the street.

The origin of the name Mouffetard remains unresolved. One theory is that it originates from an old 18th-century French word, mofette, meaning a noxious smell. At that time, tanners and tripe butchers working in the area used the river Bievre - itself long built over - as a sewer. Two golden oxen carved in bas-relief at #6, remain as a testament to these ancient trades. Before the 15th century, the borough of Sainte-Medard took pride in its vineyards and bucolic surroundings, but when the butchers, dyers and tanners took over, the presence of hot-tempered butchers and rowdy youths inebriated with cheap wine, brawls and scuffles were the daily and nightly lot of the area. In the early 18th century the authorities sensibly stationed the "gardes francaises" at # 36. The "garde republicaine" is now stationed at #61 which was a humble convent, built in the middle of the 17th century. By the early 18th century it was threatened with ruin and was rescued by the Madame de Maintenon.

From June to October 1921 James Joyce lived at #71, across the street where he finished writing "Ulysses". # 39 Rue Descartes is where the celebrated symbolist poet Paul Verlaine lived until his death in 1896. He is buried in the church Saint-Etienne du Mont, to 'rest forever' in the same section of Paris where his career in both literature and debauchery began - the Latin Quarter.

Hemingway

The top end of rue Mouffetard leads into Place de la Contrescarpe created until 1852 but has been a busy junction since time memorable, the 'village' square of the neighborhood, and the haunt of writers, artists and students. It was made famous by Ernest Hemingway in his book about life in Paris. 'A Moveable Feast'.

In 1922 Hemingway and his young bride, Hadley, lived nearby at #74 rue Cardinal-Lemoine. Hemingway also rented a room to work in at #39 rue Descartes, he claimed it was the one in which Verlaine had died.

Jardin des Plantes

The Jardins de Plantes (Botanical Gardens), also encompasses a zoo and the Museum of Natural History, which kids love to visit, especially when the animals go for the daily walks and the ceiling changes color. Across the street stop for a mint tea at the Paris Mosque.

“Without a doubt, our tour guide, Larry, custom planned a perfect day for our market exploration. He exceeded our expectations in locating points of interest per our numerous requests and directed us to our destinations effectively and in a timely manner. Larry was also interesting, informative and entertaining. We will definitely recommend his services for those who desire an insiders perspective on a personal level. We spent an extremely enjoyable and memorable day with our guide "