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HOW TO SPEND ONE DAY IN THE SORBONNE NEIGHBOURHOOD

sorbonne - paris zigzag

At the heart of the Vth arrondissement, where the bustling activity of student life echoes in the cobbled streets filled with history, stands the legendary university of La Sorbonne. Our day in this lively district starts by walking up the Montagne Sainte-Geneviève.

10 am – Coffee at Le Soufflot

There’s no better way to pose as a French intellectual than with a strong black coffee on the – periodically – sunny terrace of Le Soufflot. There, you can impersonate Parisian thinkers, lost in thought, a cup of steaming coffee in one hand and a cigarette in the other; and don’t forget to take out your best novel to impress bystanders and the philosophy professors sitting next to you.
Café soufflot paris zigzag

© taleofacity

11 am – Visit of the Panthéon

A few steps away: the Panthéon, one of the secular French Republic’s most sacred sanctuaries. Inside this imposing Neo-classic building, you’ll find Foucault’s sublime pendulum and the graves of the country’s most distinguished and illustrious men and women. We hope you appreciate the irony of Voltaire and Rousseau, who notoriously hated one another, lying next to each other for eternity. One can only wonder whether they’re still bickering in the afterlife…

Panthéon -  - Caty Reneaux - Paris ZIgZag
© Caty Reneaux / Paris ZigZag

12.30 pm – Saint-Etienne-du-Mont Church

Exiting the Panthéon, a walk around the Square will bring us to the N°17, where Surrealism founder André Breton invented the concept of “automatic writing”. Farther away, don’t forget to have a peak at the VIth arrondissement’s City Hall, the Law Faculty and the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève – a student-only library reminiscent of J.K. Rawlings’ fantasy world. Our morning stroll comes to an end at the Eglise Saint-Etienne-du-Mont, often hailed as the most beautiful church in Paris and famous for harbouring an incredible rood screen and Racine’s earthly remains.
saint etienne du mont - Caty Reneaux - Paris ZIgZag (1)

© Caty Reneaux / Paris ZigZag

2 pm – Lunch at Istambul Kehribar

No need to go far to fill our stomachs. Right next to the Panthéon, the Istambul Kehribar skilfully mixes the ecstatic flavours of the kebab with the atmosphere of a well-established restaurant. For dinner or lunch, indulge in their delicious Turkish and Mediterranean meals, which you can also take-away and eagerly devour on the Place de l’Estrapade or in the Luxembourg Gardens. If you’re in doubt, just ask: the sympathetic and affable owner will gladly help you choose.
Instambul  - Caty Reneaux - Paris ZIgZag  (1)

© Caty Reneaux / Paris ZigZag

1 Rue des Fossés Saint-Jacques, 75005 
Telephone: 09 50 74 94 25

Open Monday – Saturday (11 am – 11 pm)

3 pm – Walk in the Luxembourg Gardens

After that meal, only one thing left to do: rest our royal buttocks on the Luxembourg Gardens’ signature chairs (which actually belong to the French Senate) and let yourself be bewitched by the famous trompe l’oeil of the Médicis Fountain. If you feel up to it, there are plenty of activities waiting for you: tennis, chess, exhibitions in the Orangerie, the hives and, of course, idle walks amidst the seasonal and colourful flowerbeds.

Luxembourg Caty Reneaux Paris ZiGZAg
© Caty Reneaux / Paris ZigZag

4.30 pm – The PUF bookshop

Located next to the Luxembourg Gardens, this bookshop belongs to the Presses Universitaires de France. What makes it so unique, you ask? They can print any “Que Sais-Je” (What do I know), these emblematic high-quality books covering over 200 different topics in 150 pages, for less than 10 euros. Any decent bookshelf should have a handful of them.

Librairie des PUFS PAris ZigZag
© Eliane Domaneschi

La librairie des PUF
60 rue Monsieur le Prince, 75006

Open Monday – Saturday (10 am – 7 pm)

6 pm – Detour to the Collège de France

While strolling down rue des Ecoles, right after the Sorbonne and Montaigne’s statue, whose feet are supposed to bring luck to students, we end up at the Collège de France. Founded in 1530, this highly-prestigious academic institution is open to everyone. You don’t even need to register to attend the courses, seminars and conferences of some of the country’s most brilliant minds and renowned professors.
Collège de France - Caty Reneaux - Paris ZIgZag (1)

© Caty Reneaux / Paris ZigZag

 8 pm – Jazz at Piano Vache

Every Monday night, Piano Vache organizes a free gypsy jazz evening. A perfect way to end your day in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, although it’s best to arrive early to get a table. Its corrida-themed deco and the bull heads hanging on the walls are, however, not for the fainthearted. You should also check their concert program for the rest of the week, although, regardless of the line-up, it’s an ideal joint to have a drink or order a cheese platter before heading home.

Piano Vache  - Caty Reneaux - Paris ZIgZag
© Caty Reneaux / Paris ZigZag

How about pursuing your meandering with a guided visit of the Latin Quarter?

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