Place Monge at a Glance
Sights Within 1 Kilometer:
Arénes de Lutéce-130m
Arab World Institute-800m
Île Saint Louis-1km
Jardin des Plantes-700m
Place Monge Market-38m
Philippe Auguste Wall-450m
Arénes de Lutéce: There is not much left from this Roman Arena, but it is a unique sight to visit. As you stand in the center, imagine you were a gladiator waiting for his fate to be revealed.
Arab World Institute: The goal of the institute is to build an understanding between different cultures. The unique architecture holds art, history, and a library to bring people together by banishing the lack of knowledge about the culture.
Île St. Louis: This island is home to the best ice cream in Paris: Berthillon. Walking the streets, you feel like you are in a village making it is easy to forget that you are in the city center. Hear the accordion player in the background as you window shop with your glacé in hand.
Grande Mosque of Paris: Inside the mosque you will find a charming café. 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. This is a place perfect for reflection and thought.
Jardin des Plantes: Greenery surrounds you in this escape from the city. The garden has a nice combination of trees, flowers, and other activities. Take a walk through the zoo, or visit the natural history museum. Maybe you can even join those practicing tai chi.
Seine/Quais: If you walk north, you will eventually run into the Seine. Find a good spot on the Pont de Sully and watch the ebb and flow of people travel down the river. The quays along the Seine are perfect for strolling or a picnic. Life is good watching the world go by on water.
Place Monge Market: Markets look so inviting in the rain with their covered roofs and warm lights. I find this market to be one of my favorites in Paris. It is small enough not to be overwhelming, but it was bustling, so I knew the produce was good quality. The smell of roasted chicken permeates the little enclosures until you walk past a cheese stand. Then, a new odor takes over. Visit this market on Wednesday, Friday, or Sunday.
Rue Mouffetard: 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.
Hemingway’s Home: 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?
Philippe Auguste Wall: 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.
Saint Étienne du Mont: The church is closed on Mondays, but open every other day. If you look above the door you will see Saint Etienne being stoned, hence being the patron saint for headaches and migraines. Although the church is named after Saint Etienne, it contains the relics of Saint Genevieve. She is the patron saint of Paris. 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.
Panthéon: The Panthéon is the resting place for many famous French such as Voltaire, Marie Curie ,and Victor Hugo.
Sorbonne/Latin Quarter: The Latin Quarter is best known for the two major boulevards: St. Michel and St. Germain des Prés which are a little beyond the Sorbonne. There is plenty of shopping and eating to be done on these streets, but sneaking in and out of the side streets reveals a picturesque, hidden side of the Latin Quarter. The area gets its name from the Latin-speaking students of the Sorbonne.
Jardin de Luxembourg: The gardens flowing out from the palace are one of the many living rooms for the Parisians. While pacing through the gardens you may come across a group of older men playing pétanque, a little tike riding a pony, children chasing their sailboats on the pond with their sticks, or a fountain revealing danger for two lovers.
This walk is a bit long, but it gives you a variety of sights in a loop. I suggest going on this route the day the Place Monge Market is open, otherwise, I would not walk back to Place Monge.