The best way to see Paris is on foot, but I think the best way to experience Paris is by sampling the phenomenal food and drinking copious glasses of wine. One of the best places to combine the two is in the Latin Quarter.
Located on the left bank in the 5th and part of the 6th arrondissement, the Latin Quarter was once known for its bohemian vibe. The Latin Quarter is home to no less than four universities, with the most famous one being the Sorbonne. It’s now full of students and lively cafes and bars.
One rainy Monday evening in March, I decided to set out and see a part of Paris I’d yet to experience. This tour included not only the Latin Quarter, but also all the typical French food I’d yet to try. I was staying in a fabulous apartment not far from the Latin Quarter, but any hotel near the center of Paris would be convenient. So with camera and hand, I made the short walk to Le Deux Magots, which would serve as the starting point for my culinary crawl.
Les Deux Magots
This café is located in Saint-Germain-des-Prés and is quite the tourist destination. It’s a classic French café with its outside dining, but what I love about this place is its history. Ernest Hemmingway and Pablo Picasso among others used to dine here. I’m a sucker for Hemmingway. The food’s not bad either, but it’s priced as one would expect on a popular corner in Paris. I elected not to eat anything here this time around.
Directions to Stop One:
From Les Deux Magots take Rue des Canettes to Saint-Sulpice, the second largest church in the city behind Notre Dame. Then walk along the longest road in Paris, Rue de Vaugirard, past the Sénat to Boulevard Saint-Michel. Head north on Boulevard Saint-Michel to the Sorbonne. From the Sorbonne, go south on Rue Saint-Jacques to Rue Clovis where you’ll head east. This will take you to the Pantheon. Originally a church, this massive structure is a mausoleum for distinguished French citizens. Also next to the Pantheon is Sainte-Geneviève Library and Saint-Étienne-du-Mont Church, which contains the shrine to St. Geneviève, the patron saint of Paris. From the Pantheon, take Rue Clovis east to Rue Descartes south to Place de la Contrescarpe where you’ll find your first stop.
Comfortable and charming, Café Delmas is located in the famous Mouffetard Quarter. With its large terrace, it’s a great place to grab a bite to eat and a cocktail or glass of wine. On this, my first stop, I went all in by ordering escargot and duck pâté. The escargot I loved. What’s not to love with so much butter and garlic involved? I could do without eating the duck pâté again, but the lovely glass of Bordeaux did well in taking the taste out of my mouth.
Directions to Stop Two:
Go back the way you came where you’ll pass by the north side of the Pantheon again. Circle around the Pantheon until you reach Rue Soufflot. Take Rue Soufflot to Rue Monsieur-le-Prince to the second stop.