Wandering… (la Rive Gauche)

As I wandered through the streets of Paris, heading over to the Left Bank was always a delight. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but la Rive Gauche has a distinctly different feel than the Right Bank. Perhaps it’s because the majority of Paris’ major tourist attractions are on the Right Bank? (With the glaring exception of la Tour Eiffel and a few others, of course). The Left Bank feels more residential and a bit more relaxed, maybe? And also a bit more modern in some places? I’m not quite sure what it was exactly, but I really liked the Left Bank quite a bit. I wish I had spent more time there and explored it more thoroughly, but alas, I didn’t even get close to seeing it all. Ah well – what I did manage to see, I loved…

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One of my favorite Left Bank neighborhoods was just across the river from my apartment in le Marais – le Quartier Latin (the Latin Quarter)…

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One of my favorite murals in all of Paris - simple, but elegant...

One of my favorite murals in all of Paris – simple, but elegant…

The most famous English-language book store in all of Paris - Shakespeare & Co....

The most famous English-language book store in all of Paris – Shakespeare & Co….

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Place Staint-Sulpice...

la Place Staint-Sulpice…

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Further south there’s Montparnasse with its modern architecture and grand Tour Montparnasse -one of Paris’ few skyscrapers- which dominates the skyline…

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It’s also the home to the Cimetière du Montparnasse, where many famous people are buried – Jean Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Man Ray, Susan Sontag and more. As with Père Lachaise, I wasn’t so into hunting for famous headstones, but a sunny stroll there sure was lovely…

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And another little Left Bank treasure – the adorable hilltop neighborhood of Buttes aux Cailles, which I probably never would have found if a few friends hadn’t shown it to me…

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And of course, there are some ‘guide book attractions’ to check out on la Rive Gauche as well…

The Pantheon from a distance...

The Pantheon from a distance…

... and up close, of course.

… and up close, of course.

l'Institut de France...

l’Institut de France…

The lovely Gare de Lyon train station...

The lovely Gare de Lyon train station…

An amazing piece of contemporary architecture, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France sits on the Left Bank as well. One of the largest libraries in the world, it has four high-rise towers at the corners of its two-story rectangular layout. The best part about this building, though, is the large deck on the roof of the two-story section of the building where one can stroll around and take in the ‘mini-forest’ that grows inside a large courtyard at the center of the building… so cool!

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The Grande Mosqueé de Paris is also not to be missed. Its gorgeous interior is full of beautiful details and there’s a lovely courtyard garden full of wisteria vines and vibrant colors…

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Prayer instructions...

Prayer instructions…

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There’s also a great café attached to the Mosque where you can sip sweet hot tea and eat tasty middle-eastern treats in a sunny courtyard – a highlight of my Paris wanderings, for sure…

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With that, I give you just the tiniest taste of all the lovely things Paris’ Left Bank has to offer. I guess I’ll just have to go back there someday to see more and report back to you!

Next up on the blog, walks along the River Seine and a city full of little surprises….

2 thoughts on “Wandering… (la Rive Gauche)

  1. Pingback: Wandering… (the River Seine) | Home is Where the Hair Is

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