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With all of the modern marvels of the French Capital it is hard to imagine its presence in medieval times, but there are certainly some districts that can transport the visitor back to this era. In particular the Latin Quarter also combined with the St. Germain area. This cozy section of Paris sits on the left bank of the Seine just steps from the metro in every direction and a short walk from the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral.
The first thing one may notice is that unlike many other shopping streets and squares in Europe there is not too much pressure to buy. This is indeed a good sign, many of the quaint restaurants, cafes and shop stands are simply inviting enough by their pleasant demeanor. Still one should be aware that like in any congested area there are dangers of pickpockets, prices are a bit inflated due to the surroundings and not every touristy place serves the best food.
Where to Stay?
Many tourists often ask whether it is better to stay here in the Latin Quarter or to stay in the Marais, another well preserved part of the city. The hotel scene in Paris is complicated and expensive, it is actually more reasonable to stay even further afield and make good use of the metro, but if you just have to stay in the historic disrict, the Marais has better options. The general feeling among travelers is that Marais is better for accommodation and the Latin Quarter is better for shopping and eating.
What to See?
Because the streets are labyrinthine and the ways can cause one to wander around it is very possible to miss some attractions or to get sidetracked by a great smelling restaurant or a unique craft store. This is obviously part of the fun but there are some great things worth putting on one’s list too. The Church of St. Severin is one of the city’s oldest churches and a living testament to several architectural and artistic movements that influenced its design. There is a superabundance of bistros, cafes, brasseries, boulangerie, jazz clubs, and boutiques. Places like the 5e Cru, Balzar and Chez Rene are certainly worth exploring. Due to the academic origins of this neighborhood, there is the Sorbonne and many bookshops like the Shakespeare and Company wherein one can find all sorts of paper novelties and books. On top of it all Rue de Seine has an attractive outdoor market.