Best Things to Do in the Latin Quarter, Paris

The renowned Latin Quarter is located on the Left Bank of the Seine River, in the 5th district of Paris. The Latin Quarter is one of the must-visit neighborhoods in Paris, a lively place with a dynamic ambiance and an exciting history that goes back to Roman times. It is also home to fascinating buildings, prestigious learning centers like La Sorbonne and Le Collège de France, as well as booksellers, independent cinemas, and lovely cafés.

Furthermore, the Latin Quarter was fortunate enough to be spared from Baron Haussmann’s major works, so it has an antique feel throughout the city and maintains a top position on the list of best districts to stay in Paris for visitors.

Quartier Latin - Paris

Latin Quarter Practical Information

How to Get to the Latin Quarter in Paris?

You can reach the Latin Quarter with metro line 4 (St Michel-Notre Dame, Odéon), line 10 (Cardinal Lemoine, Maubert-Mutualité, Jussieu), and line 7 (Place Monge, Jussieu, Cesier-Daubeuton). The RER trains B and C also have a stop in the Latin Quarter Paris (Saint-Michel Notre Dame).

Where to Eat & Sleep in the Latin Quarter?

What to Do in the Latin Quarter, Paris

If you plan to visit this neighborhood during your next trip to Paris, here’s the list of the best things to do in the Latin Quarter.

1. Take a Latin Quarter Walking Tour

This Latin Quarter walking tour with an expert guide is an excellent introduction to this neighborhood. Visit the main landmarks in the area and listen to the history of one of the oldest neighborhoods in Paris and the artistic geniuses it inspired. If you prefer to arrange a tour for you and your tribe, this private Latin Quarter walking tour also has excellent reviews.

2. Visit the Panthéon of Paris

The Panthéon in Paris

This stunning Paris landmark built in neoclassic style serves as both a memorial and a tomb to France’s finest men and women. Originally erected as a church in 1758, the Panthéon of Paris was turned into a “monument to the heroes of France” after the French Revolution.

The Panthéon’s exterior was designed after the Pantheon in Rome. It’s worth visiting inside to see the tombs of its eternal guests and learn more about their histories and main achievements. Hanging from the cupola, there’s a replica of the famous pendulum that Léon Foucault used to demonstrate the Earth’s rotation.

The Panthéon is excellently located on Montagne Sainte-Genevieve, considered the center of Roman Paris. If you decide to climb up to the cupola (April to October), you will be rewarded with one of the best views of Paris Click here to buy your tickets to the Panthéon

TIP: The Paris Museum Pass for 2, 4, or 6 days includes the entrance to the Panthéon of Paris

3. Explore the Jardin des Plantes

Cherry Blossoms - Jardin des Plantes

Formerly known as Le Jardin du Roi (King’s Garden), the Jardin des Plantes is the main botanical garden in France and one of the main things to see in the Latin Quarter. It was founded in the 17th century by King Louis XIII as a garden to grow medicinal plants, and for many years, it was used to lecture future physicists and pharmacists.

Today, the Jardin des Plantes is considered one of the best gardens in Paris, together with the Tuileries Garden and the Luxembourg Gardens. In addition to its stunning collection of plants, flowers, and trees, there are several galleries, two greenhouses with exotic plants, a zoo, and a small carousel, so it’s the kind of place that can keep you busy all day.

The Jardin des Plantes is beautiful to see under all the seasons. In spring, it is the place where you can see the most beautiful cherry blossoms in Paris.

4. Visit the Musée de Cluny – National Museum of Middle Ages

Musée Cluny - Paris

This modest, sometimes underrated museum and former medieval home is dedicated to art, culture, and daily life in Paris in Medieval times. After years of renovation work, the Musée de Cluny reopened recently.

The main attraction here is, without a doubt, “La Dame a la Licorne,” a 15th-century collection of cryptic, dazzling tapestries that enchant those who see them. There are other intriguing artifacts from everyday medieval life, an aromatic garden outside that is styled like those seen in the Middle Ages, and a basement level that shows the stunning remains of one of the thermal baths in Roman Paris Click here to buy your tickets to the Musée Cluny

TIP: don’t miss the statue of Montaigne, on the square just in front of the museum entrance, and the history behind it!

5. Picnic and Pétanque at the Arènes de Lutèce

Arenes de Lutece - Paris

The Arènes de Lutèce is the oldest building in Paris and a must-visit of the Latin Quarter if you wish to mix history with relaxation in a beautiful natural setting. This former amphitheater of Roman Paris was built during the 1st century AD and it was used for theatre plays, circus games, and other events.

Access to this unique place is free, and it is open from sunrise to sunset. Despite limited grass, it’s an excellent place to rest outside. The attractive, historical environment full of flowers can complement an improvised picnic.

The Arènes de Lutèce is one of the usual spots for pétanque players. Just like in Roman times, you can sit on the theatre’s steps and watch them play!

6. Take the Batobus (Seine’s Hop on Hop off Boat Cruise)

Batobus Hop-On Hop-Off

See the highlights of the city on one of the most leisurely Seine cruises in Paris. The Batobus is the only Paris hop-on hop-off that navigates the Seine River, and it has one of its stops in the Latin Quarter.

Instead of taking the subway or walking, this boat ride provides stunning views of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed riverbanks as well as the option to get off anytime you choose. Glide under the city’s gorgeous bridges and through its fine architecture, and jump on and off the riverboat to view sites such as the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre Museum (9 stops available) when you want.

There are two stops to board on it in the Latin Quarter at Quai de Montebello (in front of Notre Dame) and Quai Saint-Bernard (in front of the Jardin des Plantes) Click here to buy your tickets to the Batobus

7. Have a Break at Square Viviani

The Square René-Viviani is undoubtedly one of Paris’ most unique gardens. Discover a lush setting rich with historical relics and open onto Notre Dame in this garden set by the Seine riverbanks.

This small square is located atop the former cemetery of the Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre Church. Built in Romanesque style during the 12th-13th centuries on the site of a 5th-century chapel, Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre is the oldest church in Paris. Dedicated to the Melchite Greek Catholic worship since 1889, services are celebrated in Greek and Arabic.

Square René-Viviani even contains the oldest tree in Paris! This locust or false acacia was planted in 1601 by Jean Robin, arborist to King Henri IV and director of the Jardin des Plantes.

This square is ideal for a short break during your Paris sightseeing. If you visit Paris in December, it holds one of the best Christmas Markets in Paris.

8. Visit the Sorbonne (from Outside)

Sorbonne University - Paris

La Sorbonne is Paris’s oldest university and one world’s of the most well-known institutions of higher learning. Founded in 1257, La Sorbonne is today a collection of thirteen independent institutions. The building in the picture corresponds to the Sorbonne Chapel on Rue Victor Cousin, which was rebuilt in the 17th century by Cardinal Richelieu.

Those who aren’t students or intellectuals of the Sorbonne may appreciate the impressive buildings along the Boulevard Saint-Michel or relax with a glass of wine at one of the sidewalk cafés popular by students and teachers.

9. French Apéritif at Place de la Contrescarpe

Paris 5 - Place Contrescarpe

Place de la Contrescarpe is one of the liveliest corners in the Latin Quarter in Paris. It is located along Rue Mouffetard, near the intersection of Rue Lacépède and Rue du Cardinal-Lemoine.

Place de la Contrescarpe is arguably best known as one of the favorite places of Hemingway in Paris. Indeed, throughout the 1920s, the American writer stayed on 74 Rue du Cardinal-Lemoine, not far from the square.

Several pubs and restaurants around offer good affordable cuisine for locals and visitors. They are also great places for a French apéritif and people-watching.

10. Mint Tea and delicious cakes at Café de la Mosquée de Paris

La Mosquée de Paris is the main site of worship for Muslims in Paris. The complex includes a secluded garden, a hammam or Arabic baths, and a café.

The mosque’s café is a lovely place for mint tea and some traditional pastries. Its décor is spectacular: copper-plated tables, mosaics, ornate ceilings, carved arches, oriental couches, and colored geometrical patterns transport you to exotic North Africa. It also has a gorgeous patio, which is an excellent spot to unwind.

11. A night of Champagne and French Cancan at the Paradis Latin

Paradis Latin Can Can
photo courtesy: Paradis Latin (c)

The Paradis Latin is an institution in Paris. Designed by architect Gustave Eiffel himself, the iconic Parisian cabaret on the Seine’s Right Bank recently celebrated 130 years of entertainment.

A fantastic combination of musical comedy, magnificent French can-can, and modern dances, it ensures a spectacular evening at the most Parisian of the great cabarets. Expect a memorable soirée in Paris, which you can combine with dinner or a glass of champagne.

Enter an extravagant world of color and beauty; there’s nothing more Parisian than the Paradis Latin cabaret show! The show features gravity-defying scenography and aerial attractions, skilled dances mixed with delicate seduction, and one astonishing grand finale Click here to buy your tickets to the Paradis Latin

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Quirky Parisian explorer with a preference for lesser-known sights, I am continuously looking for new ideas and tips to bring you the best of the City of Light! Read more about me.