What To Expect
Bohemian cafes, narrow cobblestone streets and medieval churches all give the Left Bank of Paris its eternal charm. This two-hour Rive Gauche orientation walk, led by a knowledgeable resident docent, takes you past some of the districts most important sites as well as down some of its hidden side streets to give you a real feel for the atmosphere and history of Saint Germain and the Latin Quarter.
The Left Bank is both an eccentric and ecclesiastic area. It was here that the Romans founded their city, Lutetia, 2000 years ago. After the decline of the empire, the land south of the Seine became the home to numerous abbeys and monasteries and as of the 13th century it also flourished as the academic center around the Sorbonne University, implanting the district's intellectual roots. It wasn't until much later in the 20th century, that artists, writers and other thinkers joined this group, fostering its growing lively bohemian community.
We will start our walk in front of the Saint Germain-des-Pres church, one of the oldest churches in Paris, which barely survived the destructive acts of the revolutionaries. The area might be better known as the hub of the intellectual life of the 20s and 30s, and we will see some of its famous cafes, the favorite haunts of the "Lost Generation" writers and the post war existentialist philosophers.
We will continue down some of the back streets that suddenly burst to life with overflowing cafes filled with real Parisians. These tiny streets will take us to a variety of sites, depending on the group's interests or the docent's areas of expertise, but which in their own way, give you insight into the true nature of the area. You may have a look at some of the neighborhood's other churches such as Saint Sulpice or the Pantheon, pass alongside the peaceful Luxembourg gardens, discover the city's first café or some historic restaurants.
As we walk, you will have the perfect occasion to get your docent's thoughts on French society and habits, the healthcare or education systems, or maybe on how Parisians really eat or how to use the velib bike rentals. After traversing parts of the Latin Quarter we will wind up our stroll around the popular Place Saint Michel, a convenient place for you to stop and have a drink or hop on the metro, hopefully equipped with a better understanding of the city as a whole.
Meals and drinks
Tips and gratuities
Walks are held rain or shine with some variations to accommodate the weather.
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