The left bank is probably one of the most famous areas of Paris. If you’ve been before, but would like to return to see something new, check out this walk designed by my aunt. We followed the route and had a balanced day of exploration.
Jardin des Plantes
Greenery surrounds you in this escape from the city. Parisiennes have small homes and few green spaces, so they appreciate all parks. The Jardin has a nice combination of trees, flowers, and other activities. Maybe you can even join those practicing tai chi.
Grande Mosque of Paris
We stopped in to have a tea and pastry before we wandered through the Mosque. The pastries are 2 euros and the tea is 2.50 Euros. The tea is a nice combination of mint and chai. Look around and you will feel like you are in Morocco. The mosque has a lush garden area with blue tiles that appear to be meditative waters. A place perfect for reflection and thought.
The street is lined with fromageries, boulangeries, and every other geries you could wish for. The restaurants have character whether it is German style or a true French bistro. You could also consider grabbing a sandwich and finding a nice park bench to hold you as you chomp on your baguette. I would not recommend visiting this street on Monday since most shops are closed up.
Ernest Hemingway Apartment
If you are fan of Hemingway or have read A Moveable Feast, stop by 74 Rue Cardinal Lemoine to see where he lived with Hadley. Step back in time as you imagine an apartment without heat or a toilet. Hemingway even used a slop bucket at times. Close your eyes and hear the noise of the drunkards stumbling around after their cheap brandies back in the 20s. Can you smell the odor?
Wall of Phillip August
If you want to see a peak into historical Paris, continue down the street to see a glimpse of the old Paris wall. The Louvre was a fortress and its wall protected it from invasion. This segment of the wall is part of what is left from the original.
St. Etienne du Mont
St. Genevieve is the patron saint of Paris. The church is closed on Mondays, but open every other day. If you look above the door you will see St. Etienne being stoned, hence being the patron saint for headaches and migraines. Although the church is named after St. Etienne, it contains the relics of St. Genevieve. You may also recognize this sight from Midnight in Paris. Perhaps a stop on the steps at midnight will take you back to the 1920s.
Continue on to where Hemingway stopped to write or just drink. The food is not cheap, but you can pick up a bite to eat or grab a quick refreshment. Perhaps your muse will force great works from your pen to paper.
If you have extra energy, continue on…
I have always loved these little stalls by the Seine. Some are touristy, but some have vintage books and posters. Notice the American culture as you see the Bob Dylan and Scarface posters. I picked up a cheap copy of The Petite Prince today which is a book many French live their lives by.
Shakespeare and Company
Another possible Hemingway stop, but not exclusive to him is this American bookstore. Sylvia Beach opened the store during the time of the lost generation. Those that were living after the war bought books, borrowed money, and stayed in this bookstore. If you are in need of hearing a little English, this is a good place to stop.
The cathedral is my favorite in all of Europe. Every time I go, I feel something unique. One time I even saw the crown of thorns, nail, and splinter of wood relics. Even if you are not religious, appreciate it for its architecture and rose windows. I always love seeing the flying buttresses in the rear.
These are the places we visited, but there are more sights along the way. You can also consider visiting:
-Arenes de Lutece