The Latin Quarter, aka Le Quartier Latin, is one of the most authentic and romantic Parisian locations. We loved our visit to that area of the city last year. When we come back – possibly without the kids, on our own little romantic Parisian Getaway – I think we’re going to stay in the Latin Quarter.
As always, I do my research way ahead of time, and as usually, I share the results with you here! I’ve put together some basic information about the Latin Quarter in Paris in this post. If you’re not familiar with Paris (yet!) stick around as I explain where the Latin Quarter is, what’s so special about it and why it can make such a fabulous base for exploring Paris. I’ll wrap up with several recommendations for hotels in the Latin Quarter – places where I would love to stay myself.
Where is the Latin Quarter in Paris?
Right in the heart of Paris!
The city of Paris is divided into twenty arrondissements municipaux or in layman’s term, administrative districts. The Latin Quarter takes up most of the 5th arrondissement, and part of the 6th as well, making it one of the more central areas.
The quarter is famous for being on the left (southern) bank of the River Seine, or as they say in French La Rive Gauche. In fact, for some people, the Latin Quarter and Rive Gauche are almost synonyms. I couldn’t find a map that outlines the Latin Quarter in a very precise way though. The heart is definitely the Sorbonne University, outlined in red on this map –
Why you should include the Latin Quarter in your Paris Itinerary
In a word? Romance.
But there’s more to it than that so I should add a few more words. And while it is one of the most romantic areas in the City of Love, it’s actually a great place for solo travelers and even families. If you read my latest Paris trip report, you’ll see that our family day there was pretty awesome!
As far as traveling and sightseeing are concerned, the Latin Quarter is one of the most popular spots in Paris. This is the city’s oldest quarter – dating back to the Roman times. If you visit the Cluny Museum (as we did!), you can go down to the underground level to view the Roman archeological remains.
Above the ground, the Latin Quarter is the most medieval place we’ve been to in Paris. At least that’s how it felt. It makes sense too, as this area has been a center of learning since the Middle Ages. In fact, the name “Latin Quarter” has little to do with the Roman era. According to what I’ve read, the name indicates the fact that students and professors roamed this area as early as the 12th century. These distinguished medieval academics spoke Latin, of course, and hence the name.
The Latin Quarter today
This area is still an academic center with a very distinct flavor of Parisian intellectualism. Where else in the world would you see this magazine prominently displayed in a newstand?
This area is home to the oldest university in the city: The Sorbonne, which is still very much in operation. The Latin Quarter has that special vibrancy that emanates where you have so many students huddling together. Walking the busy main streets, or the more peaceful alleys, you’re bound to see young people walking around with heavy books under their arms.
There’s sightseeing to be done
If you want to spend just one day in the Latin Quarter of Paris, you could hone in on several attractions and take a self-guided walk. Attractions in the Latin Quarter include –
- The Pantheon
- Place St. Michel
- The markets of Rue Mouffetard
- Musee Curie
- Cluny Museum of the Middle Ages (We loved it! Read my detailed review of the Cluny museum here).
- Musee de la Prefecture de la Police
- Churches of St-Severin, St-Julien-le-Pauvre and St-Etienne-du-Mont
Tip: Make sure your route takes you past the world-famous Shakespeare & Company bookstore at 37 rue de la Bûcherie. It’s a coffee shop and bookstore rolled in one, that’s all about Parisian intellectual chic!
The Romantic Getaway
Remember how I said it’s all about the Romance? I meant that.
Paris is already known as the City of Love but Latin Quarter is the best place to spend a romantic getaway while in Paris. Walking at the Latin Quarter is literally like those scenes in the movies where lovers walk hand-in-hand in narrow cobblestone alleys. The cafes, the bistros, the carefree atmosphere – just perfect for a couple in love. The softly-lit streets, the romantic dinners, the live music – all make the Latin Quarter perfect for leisurely romantic evenings too –
Should you stay in the Latin Quarter?
If you can find the right deal within your budget – definitely do! Here’s why –
- The Latin Quarter is perfectly situated for touring Paris. It’s very central so you can easily walk across the river to the Louvre Museum or Les Marais. Or take the metro to get to other parts of the city.
- There’s plenty to see and do within the Latin Quarter itself. If you’re interested in French culture and history, you could spend several days just exploring this very area.
- It’s safe and fun to explore, day or night. Staying in the Latin Quarter means you can spend time sightseeing in the morning, take a quick nap in the middle of the day and then be back to tour the place in the evening – and enjoy the Parisian cuisine.
- You can save some money. Well, maybe. Here’s the thing: if you want to stay in the center of Paris, this is actually a good option, budget-wise. Compared to the 1st-4th arrondissements, the 5th and 6th are relatively cheaper. That does not mean they’re cheap – this is a major European capital after all – but for central Paris, they’re actually quite ok.
So overall, if you’re wondering where to stay in Paris, I would say this:
If you’re visiting Paris for a few days – especially if this is a Romantic Getaway sort of trip – definitely check out the Latin Quarter. It’s central and offers a lot of value for your money.
Where to stay in the Latin Quarter: A few good choices!
Last but not least, a few hotel suggestions. Did I stay in all of these? Certainly! In my dreams, that is. I love researching hotels but clearly, I can’t stay in all of them. So I’m sharing my findings with you here. Hopefully, the following summaries will help you make the best choice for your trip.
The links will take you to the booking service that I use for all of our trips: Booking.com. With literally hundreds of reservations made through Booking over the years, I can say I am very pleased with that service. The links are affiliate links which means I’ll be getting a small commission if you buy through them – at no additional costs to you. Thank you in advance!
The location is what most tourists love about staying at Select Hotel. If you want to walk and visit the various museums and churches of the Latin Quarter, this can make a great base. The rooms have a modern design and you can ask for a room with a view. According to reviewers, the noise from the outside could barely be heard so you can be in the middle of the bustling neighborhood and still enjoy a good night’s sleep.
The Select Hotel also has its own on-site bar so you do not have to go far if you want to experience the famed nightlife of the Latin Quarter.
Hotel Monge offers visitors, colorful rooms, a great location, free WiFi, and air-conditioned rooms – not bad all in all! It’s close to two different Metro stations, so you can take various trains to visit other locations in Paris. Lots of positive reviews, including comments on the helpful and friendly staff.
Travelers love the fact that the Residence Henri IV is close to the Sorbonne – the oldest university in Paris. This hotel offers decor to match with antique furniture, artwork everywhere, painted ceilings and marble fireplaces. This property is located on a dead end street so there’s less noise from the street, even if you choose to keep a window open.
The three most important things you need to look for in a romantic hotel are the view from your window, a visually pleasing design of a room, and a great breakfast. Victoire & Germain offers all of these and more. Each room also has a sitting area so you can relax and lounge there before going to bed after a really long day. As for the location, while it’s in the heart of the Latin Quarter, this hotel is only a few hundreds of yards away from the Louvre.
This hotel offers a very interesting style in terms of decor – inspired by Alice in Wonderland, no less! They have a variety of room designs in neutral, pastel, or cold colors and each room has a unique style. What you may find interesting, however, are the vintage telephones in each room and the fact that the hotel was actually inspired by Alice in Wonderland.
This hotel is located across from the Cluny museum of the Middle Ages where you can enjoy the lovely – if small – medieval garden.
The location of Hotel Parc Saint Severin lets guests explore the area with both the River Seine and Notre Dame within walking distance. There are several good restaurants around the hotel as well as small shops. Reviewers who stayed there said they never had issues with noise.
The bathrooms have bath tubs so a nice bubble bath in the morning or in the evening would let you relax and enjoy your stay more.
Want to feel the sun’s rays coming from your bedroom window in the morning? How about a gorgeous sunlit room that also has a really wonderful view of Paris in the evening? Hotel Baume lets you have those. The rooms are super stylish and clean and the staff is great!
One of the most romantic options on this list, the Hotel Saint-Paul Rive-Gauche has gorgeous rooms with unique designs that include authentic wooden ceiling beams! There’s an equally stylish living area that’s shared with other hotel guests – including an open fireplace for that dream romantic Paris winter vacation.
It’s a good location too, with Saint Germain Boulevard, which is full of boutiques and cafes, is just 250 meters away from the hotel. The Odeon Metro Station is a five-minute, or less, walk.
Depending on the room you book, you can see the River Seine from your window – is that not enough reason to stay at this hotel? And the rooms are very spacious – not to be taken for granted in any European city. They’re also very beautifully furnished and decorated, ensuring a relaxing yet romantic stay.
Reviewers mention the excellent service too. A helpful and friendly staff is always a huge plus in my book.
Looking for both elegant and modern touches? Hôtel Le Relais Saint-Germain lets you have the best of both worlds. The historic building features original wooden beams, complemented by antique furniture. There is a small terrace in most rooms so you can take your coffee or meal there and enjoy some people-watching from your room.
Again, reviewers commend the staff, who are said to be warm, friendly, welcoming, and accommodating.
Over to you
What do you think of the Latin Quarter? If you’ve ever stayed in that area, can you please share your impressions here? Let us know where you stayed and how you liked it!