This blog may contain affiliate links. If you choose to purchase something I recommend, I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. But don't worry! I won't recommend anything I don't absolutely love.
How do you maximize your time in a new city when your visit is short?
You need to be close to the sights. You need to be close to transportation. You need to be close to delicious food!
When I visited Paris, my mother and I were only there for 4 days. We knew we needed to make the most of our time.
So we stayed in the Latin Quarter.
Why The Latin Quarter?
There is one fact that I won’t deny: the Latin Quarter is touristy. But really, you’re not going to find a place that meets all your criteria and isn’t touristy. And in the Latin Quarter, it’s easy to stray away from those areas and find yourself looking at what makes Paris unique.
Because you guys, the Latin Quarter is gorgeous.
It’s an area full of history, beauty, and crèperies. You will find old buildings and churches, long winding streets full of character, and beautifully manicured gardens to enjoy.
So What’s Nearby?
The Latin Quarter falls between the 5th and 6 arrondissements, and it’s well within walking distance to most of the major sights you’ll want to see.
- In less than ten minutes, you can walk to the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Luxembourg Gardens, or the Panthéon.
- In less than twenty minutes, you can walk to The Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, or the Museum of Natural History.
And these are just a few of the major attractions that are close at hand.
For any sights that are out of walking distance, the Latin Quarter has several Metro stations. There’s even a great app (Apple/Android) to help you get around easily, and without using data! I used it to get to the Eiffel Tower, and then to l’Arc de Triomphe from there, without a hitch.
On a less ambitious day, you can stroll along the Seine, perusing the wares of les bouquinistes in the day, or taking in la Ville des Lumières at night.
What About Food?
The Latin Quarter has some real gems when it comes to restaurants. If you’re looking for a mix of French cuisine and history, check out Lapérouse. Founded in 1766, you’ll be dining in a place that was once enjoyed by the likes of Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, and Emile Zola, just to name a few.
If you’re feeling something a little more casual, Pizza Chic is a great option for a low key eatery with quality food. Their industrial decor matched with the rustic view of the wood-fired oven gives this restaurant a great atmosphere. The ingredients are always fresh, and the prices are reasonable.
Naturally, there are several amazing bakeries all over the Latin Quarter. Eric Kayser is a great spot for some baked goods or a lunchtime sandwich. Yes, I am recommending a chain location. Don’t knock it til you try it! You’ll thank me when you’re full up on delicious pastries!
If you ask Paris By Mouth, Gregory Rénard has the most underrated and well-priced macaron in the neighbourhood. And of course, your trip won’t be complete until you visit a crèperie. Most spots offer eat in or take out, and you can usually watch as they craft their delicious wares.
Lastly, trust me when I say you have to visit a gyro joint. The Latin Quarter has a surprising amount of Greek spots where you can see meat roasting on a spit right in front of the window. Try one of these hefty sandwiches; you won’t be disappointed.
Where To Stay?
When I visited Paris, I stayed at Hotel du College de France, and honestly, I can’t say enough good about it. You’ll find the hotel tucked just off Saint Germain in the 5th arrondissement. It’s perfectly located for walking to attractions, catching the metro, or just wandering. Our room was clean and cozy, and we had a balcony with a beautiful view. The staff was incredibly friendly and accommodating.
If you’re looking for a place that’s a little more luxurious, you’ll have no trouble, because this is Paris. Hôtel Récamier is a 4-star hotel in the heart of the Saint Germain shopping district. Each room has a slightly different aesthetic, so each room is unique. Some rooms overlook their peaceful couryard, others have terraces.
Another place I have on my list for future visits is Hôtel Les Dames Du Panthéon. Another 4-star hotel, Hôtel Les Dames has an interesting theme: each floor and room is dedicated to women from history. Their website gives you a full run down of each theme, and pictures of their rooms. Each one is wildly different and equally gorgeous.
Of course, if you’re looking for something a little more homey, AirB&B and HomeAway are always great options as well!
So if you’re planning a short trip to Paris, and you need to maximize your time, the Latin Quarter is the place to start.