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Latin Quarter Walking Tour

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Why you will love it?

This is what the Parisians call the “Quartier Latin” or Latin district. Walk in what was once Lutetia, the former Roman name of Paris in the 1st century, through some of the oldest streets in the city while discovering some great iconic and off the beaten track curiosities. Enjoy! Parisianist.

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About this place

65 Boulevard Saint Michel, 75005 Paris
Line 10 - Cluny La Sorbonne
Line B - Luxembourg

Monday : 9:00 am - 17:00 pm
more less
Monday : 9:00 am - 17:00 pm Tuesday : 9:00 am - 17:00 pm Wednesday : 9:00 am - 17:00 pm Thursday : 9:00 am - 17:00 pm Friday : 9:00 am - 17:00 pm Saturday : 9:00 am - 17:00 pm Sunday : 9:00 am - 17:00 pm

Our Insiders' Article

Jardin du Luxembourg

When walking out of the RER “Luxembourg,” head to the gate of the Jardin du Luxembourg (Luxembourg Garden) on Rue de Médicis.  The Jardin du Luxembourg is a fine combination of French and English gardens with a 250 year old history. The Fontaine de Médicis (on the right) and the French gardens (straight ahead) are the two highlights of the park. If you have more time, take a walk around this park that is a Parisians’ favorite.

Parisianist Tip: If you arrive at lunch time on a sunny day, why not buy a baguette sandwich in a typical boulangerie and eat it seated on a green metal chair in the park, like the locals.

La Sorbonne

Exit the Jardin the way you came in, and turn left on the Boulevard Saint Michel. 150m away is the Place de la Sorbonne, with a view on the iconic Sainte Ursule chapel, used today as an exhibition area. The Sorbonne is one of the most famous universities in Paris. The name comes from Robert de Sorbon, the creator of the Sorbonne Theology College in 1253. Later, with the separation of State and Church, the Sorbonne became a university for science and literature, welcoming many French and international students whom later marked the history of their countries.

Parisianist Tip: Although there is a guard, try to ask if you can visit the court at 17 rue de la Sorbonne (walk to the Sainte Ursulle chapel, then turn left). If you get inside, you will also notice the “Fête du Lendit” painting on the back wall, a student celebration held each year in past centuries.

Cluny Medieval Museum

Walk down Rue de la Sorbonne until the very end. You will be facing a castle like building: l’Hôtel de Cluny. This building was built in the 15th century and was home to the priests of Cluny. In 1833, Alexandre du Sommerard, a medieval times enthusiast, lived here and collected old relics. His collection served as the basis for the modern medieval museum of Paris. The museum (8€, 9:15AM – 5:45PM, closed on Tuesday) displays mostly statues and tapestries. The impressive building aside (the basement floor set in old Roman ruins is stunning), the highlight is the Dame à la Licornetapestry, definitely worth seeing.

Parisianist Fun Fact: In the little park outside the museums entrance is a replica of the Capitonile Wolf statue of Rome, a present given by Rome to Paris in 1962. 

Cluny Thermal Baths

When exiting the museum, turn right on Rue du Sommerard and then take a right on Boulevard Saint Michel. On the corner, along Boulevard Saint Michel, you will see the ruins of the roman thermal Baths of Cluny (Thermes de Cluny). First built in the beginning of the 2nd century, this area was used by the locals for games and baths. Water was brought in via the Lutetia Aqueduct 16km south of Paris. These baths were destroyed by invasions (Franks, Vikings) between the 3rd and 5th centuries.

Parisianist Tip: These baths are difficult to visit and a large fence makes it impossible to even take a picture. But go inside the small park at the corner of Boulevard Saint Michel and Boulevard Saint Germain, and you will find one or two good photo spots.

Rue Saint Severin

Cross the Boulevard Saint Germain and enter the maze of small streets of the Quartier Latin via Rue de la Harpe (Look for the McDonalds on the corner). Take the second small street to the right: Rue Saint Séverin. This is an old 13th century street, which now is home to many small restaurants. Many buildings in this street are from the 17th and 18th centuries, including the one located at 22 Rue Saint Séverin: one of the narrowest buildings in Paris. If you take a closer look at the walls, you might see some 18th century graffiti: the anti-religious revolutionaries in 1789 scratched out the word “St” from the carved street name. 

Parisianist Tip: At night, the street is lively and packed with tourists. You certainly won’t find 4 star dining on this street, but the quality of the food is fair, especially if you are looking for a late night Kebab.

Saint Severin

On Rue Saint Séverin lays a church bearing the same name. Saint Séverin was a hermit who prayed here in the 11th century, which lead to the creation of a church. Destroyed by Vikings and a fire, it was rebuilt in the 13th century and restored several times during the centuries, architects enlarging and adding elements of contemporary architectural trends. A quick visit inside the church is well worth it.

Parisianist Fun Fact:  In 1970, 8 stained glass windows were added behind the altar. The contrast between the 18th century gothic stained glass windows and the new non figurative windows is interesting.

Saint Julien le Pauvre

Go to the end of Rue Saint Séverin, cross Rue Saint Jacques, and enter Rue Galande. At the intersection of Rue Galande and rue Saint Julien le Pauvre is the Melkite Greek Catholic church Saint Julien le Pauvre. Originally built in the 1st century, at the crossing of 2 main Roman paved roads, the church was sacked by barbarians and rebuilt in 1240, making it one of the oldest churches in Paris. From head of the theological University of Paris to salt warehouse during the French Revolution, this small church is not to be missed.  

Parisianist Fun Fact: Before entering the church, a few meters on the right side of the entrance is a big stone: this stone was part of the paved roman road linking Lutetia to Rome.

Rue Galande

Continue walking in Rue Galande towards the East. Rue Galande used to be the ancient roman road linking Lutetia to Fontainebleau, but the street as it is today was created in 1202. In the 14th century, this was a busy commercial street, but as the centuries went by, the street was slowly abandoned to the poor and homeless people. By the 18th century, the street was populated with alcoholics, beggars and thieves. Today, Rue Galande is a quiet street, with beautiful medieval houses. The cinema “Studio Galande” has been showing the classic movie the Rocky Horror Picture Show for more than 20 years.

Parisianist Fun Fact: There is a small 13th century sculpture on one of the buildings, depicting Saint Julien helping a fake leper, who is none other than Jesus Christ, cross a river. Can you spot it?


Cross Rue Dante and continue Rue Galande until the end. Rue Dante has this name because of the Italian writer Dante Alighieri. Dante lived here as a student of the Paris University (Sorbonne) at the end of the 13th century, before writing The Divine Comedy. Take Rue de l’Hôtel Colbert and then turn right on Rue de la Bûcherie. Also a very old street in Paris, this is where rotten meat was salted and boiled to feed the poor in the Middle-Ages. Turn right at the end of Rue de la Bûcherie and walk up Rue Maitre Albert.

Parisianist Fun Fact: at this intersection, look at the street name. The modern sign says Rue Maitre Albert, but engraved right above is the old name, Rue Perdue (meaning “lost street”). Many old 18th century houses can be seen in this street.

Place Maubert

The Rue Maitre Albert ends at Place Maubert, a busy crossing full of shops, cafés, bars and an occasional market place. Since the 13th century, Place Maubert has always been very popular, but for different reasons. A bread market during the Middle Ages, it later became a place of public executions. A great number of Protestants were tortured and burned alive here. Before the restructuring of Paris by Haussmann in the 19th century by order of Napoleon III, a great deal of business activities thrived on Place Maubert, such as “chiffonnier”: those people would pick up used cigarette butts, collect the tobacco and sell new cigarettes.

Collège des Bernardins

Cross the busy Boulevard Saint Germain and walk up Rue Monge. After 150m, you will find yourself in front of Saint Nicolas du Chardonnet church. The construction started in the middle of the 17th century, but was finished in 1937. From here, go straight in the Rue Saint Victor and turn left at the end of the street (Rue de Poissy). From here, you will have the best angle to take pictures of the College des Bernardins (10AM-6PM / Sunday 2PM-6PM / entrance to 2 areas is free, but a guided visit at 4PM everyday for 5€ is mandatory to visit the whole building). At first Cistercian college, part of the University of Paris since its construction in 1248, it became a prison during the French Revolution in 1789. Sold to the City of Paris after the Revolution, it was used as a salt warehouse and a fire station, only to be later abandoned. Sold to the Archdiocese of Paris in 2001, it is now a catholic cultural activity area.


Walk down rue de Poissy towards the Boulevard Saint Germain. If you don’t mind adding 5 minutes to your walk, take a left. At the first intersection, cross Rue de Pontoise, turn around and look up. You will witness the reality of Haussman’s plan to restructure Paris. The building has obviously been cut. Now walk back on the Boulevard Saint Germain and stop in front of number 7bis. This building is not the narrowest building in Paris, but surely one of them.  Actually, the building was built on the exact place where the Wall of Philippe Auguste once was, the latter built between 1190 and 1215 in order to protect Paris and destroyed in the 16th century.

Institut du Monde Arabe

Continue to the end of the Boulevard Saint Germain and you will see a modern building: the Institut du Monde Arabe (Arab World Institute). Built in 1987, this building combines modern architecture and oriental culture. You will surely notice the modern mushrabiyas (oriental windows) that characterize the structure. Open from 10AM to 6PM, the terrace on the top floor is free and is definitely a must do. The view on Paris and Notre Dame Cathedral is beautiful. You can even taste some Lebanese food from the restaurant on the same floor. A ticket is needed to enter the museum of the Institut du Monde Arabe, and prices vary depending on the exhibition.  


Follow the Seine towards Notre Dame on Quai de la Tournelle. The name « tournelle » comes from the Château de Tournelle, a castle built at the same time as the Wall of Philippe Auguste to protect Paris from a possible river invasion. Along the way, and up until the Pont de l’Archevêché behind Notre Dame Cathedral, you will find 2 curiosities. The Tour d’Argent, 15 rue de la Tournelle, is one of the most beautiful restaurants in Paris, famous for its starred gastronomy, décor, service and huge wine cellar. The other curiosity is the Bouquinistesbooksellers of used and antiquarian books located along large sections of the banks of the Seine. In 1530, small newspaper vendors were not allowed to own proper boutiques, and therefore had to settle on the banks of the river to try and make a living. A tradition of book selling has since then continued on these sections of the Seine. 

Archevêché Bridge

There are mainly 2 places in Paris where people use padlocks to symbolize their love : the Pont des Arts and the Pont de l’Archevêché. The latter was built in 1828 and a fee was applicable to anyone crossing it before 1850. It is now the narrowest bridge of Paris, and since 2010, lovers have come here to seal their love symbolically with a lock. This is where you will have a good angle for pictures of Notre Dame.

Parisianist Fun Fact: The 2 bridges (Pont des Arts and Pont de l'Archevêché) will have their chain link fencing replaced by clear plastic panels. Lovers will therefore find other spots to seal their love. 


Cross the Pont de l’Archevêché and enter the park on your right, just after the bridge. At the very tip of the park is the Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation (open from 10AM to 5PM except on Monday), a memorial to the 200,000 people that were deported during the occupation of France by the Germans, opened in 1962. After going down the stairs and entering the memorial through a very narrow corridor, you will find yourself in a darkened room, in front of a long fenced corridor with 200,000 glass stalks. The grave of an unknown deported victim lays at the end of the corridor, while quotations from famous authors can be read in the two other rooms of the memorial.

Parisianist Tip: The memorial being small, only a few people can enter at a time. There can be a small queue, but the waiting time is not long. Silence is requested inside.

Notre Dame

Walk back to the bridge, and enter the gardens surrounding Notre Dame. This iconic cathedral is the most visited monument in Paris. Built from 1163 to 1345, Notre Dame has 850 years of incredible history. Dazzling architecture, a priceless treasure (the Holy Crown of Thorns), an impressive list of famous visitors, make it an absolute must do in Paris. Planned for destruction in 1830, it was saved by Victor Hugo’s Hunchback of Notre-Dame novel.

Parisianist Tip: Queues can seem long, but the waiting time is short to visit the inside of the cathedral (free, daily from 8AM to 6:45PM). Visiting the crypt (5€, 10AM-6PM, closed on Monday) is a great way to understand what Paris was like before the 12th century, and there are no queues. On the other hand, the queue to climb the towers (8,50€, daily from 10AM to 5:45PM, 422 stairs without an elevator / no toilet) is endless and we therefore suggest to arrive at 9:30AM to avoid waiting for 3 hours!


Take the pedestrian bridge (Pont au Double) on the right of Notre Dame’s façade, where roller blade artists slalom their way around small aligned cones. On the opposite side of the busy Quai de Montebello is a small park. Enter the park and head on a diagonal towards the southwest. You will find the oldest tree in Paris, planted in 1602. Although this 400 year old tree needs support to stand up, it still blossoms every year.

Parisianist Fun Fact: Not too far away from the tree is a well that dates back to the 12th century.

Shakespeare & Co.

Head back to the Quai de Montebello, but this time to the opposite entrance, farther from Notre Dame. You will spot Shakespeare and Co, one of the most famous English literature bookstores in Paris. This iconic place was created in 1951 (with another name until 1962) and has ever since been an institution in Paris, serving as a free refuge for travelers in exchange for a day’s work in the bookstore. Scenes from movies like Before Sunset or Midnight in Paris were shot inside.  

Parisianist Fun Fact: The name comes from another Parisian bookstore that many authors of the Lost Generation (Hemingway, Pound, Fitzgerald, Stein, Joyce) visited. When it closed in 1962, the name was given to the current bookstore. 

Rue de la Huchette

Continue towards the west, cross the Rue Saint Jacques (once a paved roman road) and enter the narrow Rue de la Huchette. Built in the 13th century, it was once a very lively street filled with inns, before being a place of unrest and poverty. Today, many restaurants (mostly Greek) and souvenir shops make it a popular tourist destination, and locals go to see Ionesco’s play “The Bald Soprano” performed in the Theatre de la Huchette since 1957.  At 14 Rue de la Huchette, you will see a very narrow passage: Rue du Chat qui Pêche. This is one of the narrowest streets in Paris, with a width of 1.80m.

Parisianist Fun Fact: Napoleon lived on Rue de la Huchette for 4 months in 1795

Place Saint Michel

Walk to the end of Rue de la Huchette, and you will find yourself on a wide square: Place Saint Michel. The square was built in 1855 when Haussmann restructured Paris. Its iconic monument is the fountain, a popular meeting place for Parisian students before heading out to the surrounding restaurants and bars. The fountain was created in 1860 by architect Gabriel Davioud. The subway and RER stations Saint Michel are under the square.

Parisianist Fun Fact: The fountain was originally meant to have a statue of Napoleon, but plans must have changed as you can see that the statue is of Saint Michel slaying a dragon.

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