The alarm goes off and I open the curtains to look out over the beautiful residential apartments that fill the Montsouris neighborhood.
The walk through the park to the Métro stop is a nice one, as Parc Montsouris is bustling with the morning crowd: people walking to work, runners, dog walkers, and families enjoying the fall mornings. The park is a popular spot at all times of the day, especially in the afternoons and evenings, when the lawns, benches, and gardens of the park are filled with readers, picnickers, musicians, and friends.
I get off at the Boulevard St. Germain stop, where my friends and I walk a few blocks through the narrow and crooked streets of the Latin Quarter on our way to class, usually stopping at a café or boulangerie along the way for un café au lait and tartines à la confiture.
The Latin Quarter offers lots of activities; when our classes finish, we sometimes head out to spend the afternoon at La Strada, one of our favorite cafés, because of its incredible coffee and cozy atmosphere. Other times, we walk to Le Marais to see the newest exhibits at the Centre Georges Pompidou, -I strongly suggest seeing the Beat Generation exhibit if you haven’t already- or to do some thrift shopping. You don’t have to go to Le Marais for shopping though, the Latin Quarter is home to my personal favorite thrift shop, Vintage Standards, where you can find beautiful 5€ scarves, 20€ leather jackets, and unique 5-10€ t-shirts.
Paris is known for its people-watching; but at night, the Latin Quarter could be the best place in the city for this. Cafés fill up with people sitting and enjoying a late dinner, the banks of the Seine are scattered with people sharing bottles of wine, and the streets are busy with live music and occasional street performers.
The popular bookstore, Shakespeare and Company is swarmed with people during the day, but at night, it quiets down and the second floor reading room becomes the coziest place. The quaint store is filled with photographs of Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald from the 1920´s, beds and chairs where you can sit and read, and a diverse array of French and English books.
Paris is a city full of surprises, you can find new cafés, boutiques, and bookstores that you love everyday; you just have to be looking for them!
Article by Samantha Jensen