We’re winding up our week talking about Paris with a brief tour through some of our favorite neighborhoods. I’ve stayed many places in Paris, and the fact is, I’ve loved them all, and you can visit all of them on a cooking vacation to Paris. Each street has something new to offer, each corner of the city offers some gem to explore.
Straddling the border between the 3rd and 4th arrondissements and nestled on the right bank of the Seine lies one of my favorites, Le Marais. It used to be the noble quarter, home to the most chic residences of the French aristocracy before the revolution. After the revolution, it became known as a Jewish quarter. Today it is home to many shops, restaurants, a thriving LGBT community, and of course beautiful residences in the former homes of aristocrats. It’s also known as one of the few remaining medieval parts of Paris, where the streets are narrower, the houses closer together. The neighborhood escaped the sweeping changes wrought in many areas by Haussmann’s transformation of Paris into a modern city during the 19th century.
Another of our favorite areas is the Latin Quarter. Located on the left bank and near the Sorbonne, the Latin quarter is a place of youth and vibrancy, with a bustling nightlife. Its name comes from the fact that Latin was the language of the university. Today, in addition to the many bars, clubs, cafes, and bistros you find in the area, you can also find some wonderful (and wonderfully inexpensive) ethnic eateries catering to students.
On my last stay in Paris (just last week) we stayed in the Opera district, which is in the 9th arrondissement. The area is partially a commercial center, home to banks, several wide Haussmannian boulevards (including the Boulevard Haussmann), and monuments such as the Opera Garnier. But it also has fabulous shops, small streets lined with restaurants and bakeries, and old-fashioned arcades lined with shops, art galleries, and book sellers.
Of course, we’ve just scratched the surface of Paris’s great quarters. What is your favorite Paris neighborhood?
By Peg KernBy Peg Kern