A Culinary {and Wine} Crawl of Paris’ Latin Quarter

The best way to see Paris is on foot, but I think the best way to experience Paris is by sampling the phenomenal food and drinking copious glasses of wine. One of the best places to combine the two is in the Latin Quarter.

Paris France Latin Quarter

Located on the left bank in the 5th and part of the 6th arrondissement, the Latin Quarter was once known for its bohemian vibe. The Latin Quarter is home to no less than four universities, with the most famous one being the Sorbonne. It’s now full of students and lively cafes and bars.

Latin Quarter Church Paris France

One rainy Monday evening in March, I decided to set out and see a part of Paris I’d yet to experience. This tour included not only the Latin Quarter, but also all the typical French food I’d yet to try. I was staying in a fabulous apartment not far from the Latin Quarter, but any hotel near the center of Paris would be convenient. So with camera and hand, I made the short walk to Le Deux Magots, which would serve as the starting point for my culinary crawl.

Les Deux Magots

Les Deux Magots Paris

This café is located in Saint-Germain-des-Prés and is quite the tourist destination. It’s a classic French café with its outside dining, but what I love about this place is its history. Ernest Hemingway and Pablo Picasso among others used to dine here. I’m a sucker for Hemingway. The food’s not bad either, but it’s priced as one would expect on a popular corner in Paris. I elected not to eat anything here this time around.

Les Deux Magots Paris France

Directions to Stop One:

From Les Deux Magots take Rue des Canettes to Saint-Sulpice, the second largest church in the city behind Notre Dame. Then walk along the longest road in Paris, Rue de Vaugirard, past the Sénat to Boulevard Saint-Michel. Head north on Boulevard Saint-Michel to the Sorbonne. From the Sorbonne, go south on Rue Saint-Jacques to Rue Clovis where you’ll head east. This will take you to the Pantheon. Originally a church, this massive structure is a mausoleum for distinguished French citizens. Also next to the Pantheon is Sainte-Geneviève Library and Saint-Étienne-du-Mont Church, which contains the shrine to St. Geneviève, the patron saint of Paris. From the Pantheon, take Rue Clovis east to Rue Descartes south to Place de la Contrescarpe where you’ll find your first stop.

Café Delmas

escargot paris france

Comfortable and charming, Café Delmas is located in the famous Mouffetard Quarter. With its large terrace, it’s a great place to grab a bite to eat and a cocktail or glass of wine. On this, my first stop, I went all in by ordering escargot and duck pâté. The escargot I loved. What’s not to love with so much butter and garlic involved? I could do without eating the duck pâté again, but the lovely glass of Bordeaux did well in taking the taste out of my mouth.

pate paris france

Directions to Stop Two:

Go back the way you came where you’ll pass by the north side of the Pantheon again. Circle around the Pantheon until you reach Rue Soufflot. Take Rue Soufflot to Rue Monsieur-le-Prince to the second stop.

Au Père Louis Bistro

alligot paris france

This two-story neighborhood bistro is near the Luxembourg Gardens and is basically a place where locals hang out, as I discovered upon my visit. The place was absolutely packed and I literately had to push my way to the bar. The best I can guess is there was some sort of engagement party going on. The fight to claim my spot was worth it. Not only did I have yet another glass of fabulous French wine, but I experienced my very first taste of aligot. My life changed for the better when I discovered this dish made from mashed potatoes blended with butter, cream, crushed garlic, and melted cheese. Aligot will be the first thing I eat when I return to France.

Directions to Stop Three:

Continue north on Rue Monsieur-le-Prince about two minutes where you’ll reach the third stop.

L’avant Comptoir

crepe paris france

This tiny hole-in-the-wall is often standing room only. It bills itself a crêperie, wine bar, and place for hors d’oeuvres. It also specializes in pork; even the wine glasses have a pig silhouette. Since the order of the evening was to try something new, I ordered bird tongue soup. A broth-type soup with, you guessed it, tongues of birds, was just alright. It was nothing crazy or special. At least I can say I’ve eaten bird tongues though. L’avant Comptoir is a great place to pop in for a quick bite and glass of wine.

bird tongue soup paris france

Directions to Stop Four:

Head north on Rue de Conde to Boulevard Saint-Germain. Take that west to Rue de Seine to the first right, which is St. Clement.

 J’Go (Saint Germain location)

croquets paris france

Located in the shopping hall of Marché Saint-Germain, J’Go has a seasonal menu that uses in-season ingredients. It is a typically French restaurant that houses a giant leg of ham for all to ooh and ahhh over. I sat at the bar and had croquets and more wine. I remember enjoying the croquets and the wine (obviously), but that’s just about it. That’s just one of the hazards of a culinary (wine) crawl through the streets of Paris.

ham leg paris france

Directions to Stop Five:

Take Rue de Seine north across Boulevard Saint-Germain to the fifth and final stop.

Bar Du Marché

bar paris france

This place serves food, although I didn’t have any. However, I did have some sort of vodka-fruity martini-type thing. On a rainy Monday night, this place was still lively. I seemed to be the only non-French person in the place, which is just fine by me. Oh, and the bartenders wore denim overalls, which is apparently fashionable in Paris. And, the place was really red, like whorehouse red.

Leah Travels Paris France

Directions to the Starting Point:

Take Rue de Buci down to Boulevard Saint-Germain. From there, head west where Les Deux Magots will be on your right.

Latin Quarter Paris France

It’s safe to say that by the end of this walking tour of the Latin Quarter, I was able to experience a part of Paris I’d never seen. Ducking into small streets yielded even more surprises. I dined on many standard French dishes, loving some and feeling ambivalent about others. All in all, I loved this night in Paris. It was simply one of my favorites, and that includes dinner with Lionel Richie. I can’t wait to return to Paris and explore another area while stuffing my face and guzzling as much wine as my stomach will hold.

Latin Quarter Walking Tour Map Paris

Walking Tour Addresses Latin Quarter Paris

 

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23 Comments
  • Erik
    May 29, 2013

    Every meal I had in Paris was instantly in contention for “Best Meal Ever”. (Then again, so was just about every meal in Italy.

    • Leah Walker
      June 9, 2013

      Oh my, you hit the nail on the head, Erik. I can’t believe I don’t weigh 30 pounds more given all the great meals I’ve eaten in Italy and Paris.

  • I took a course in college called “Paris and the Art of Urban Life” (in the art history department, to boot!). the class was mainly two professors who had taught at Parisian universities talking about places they’d eaten at during their Paris years. Your post took me back to when I would “study” my Michelin Green Guide for class, while my business student roommates poured over economics books. Look where it took me instead!!

    • Leah Walker
      June 9, 2013

      Now that’s the kind of class I’d be happy to sign up for. What a cool thing!

  • @mrsoaroundworld
    May 30, 2013

    It is fair to say I have two options, to go or to aller 🙂 loved this!

    • Leah Walker
      June 9, 2013

      Hahahahahahahah….that is all, Mrs. O. 🙂

  • Hogga
    June 3, 2013

    mmm i’d love to go to all of these places. Not sure about Magots though. it’s so close to maggots lol

    • Leah Walker
      June 9, 2013

      I thought that too, but when the French say it Magots sounds heavenly. 🙂

  • Sofia
    June 5, 2013

    Thanks for the tips, we might be going there in a few days so this will be very useful!

    • Leah Walker
      June 9, 2013

      Certainly. There’s about 22 other stops, but I got far too intoxicated and full to visit them all on this trip.

  • Kieu ~ GQ trippin
    June 6, 2013

    These posts should come with a warning, Leah.. Dying to go back and eat my way through Paris again.

    • Leah Walker
      June 9, 2013

      Sorry, Kieu. You, my dear, are the queen of posting food porn, so I don’t want to hear a word.

  • Plenty of reasons to head back to Paris. I snapped the customary tourist photo of MJ at Le Deux Magots last time…

    • Leah Walker
      June 9, 2013

      I have a photo there, too. It’s a must.

  • Anita Mac
    June 6, 2013

    As always, your food posts have me hungry and leave me with the desire to get on a plane! Not sure about the bird tongue soup…do I dare ask if they tasted like chicken???? You are braver than me Leah – the bird tongues would not have been my top pick! The crepes on the other hand, look right up my alley!

    • Leah Walker
      June 9, 2013

      Actually, it did taste like chicken. And I’m not sure if I was brave or drunk at that point. Either way, it wasn’t so bad.

  • Traveling Ted
    June 6, 2013

    I keep getting attacked by red-winged blackbirds each time I run down this one path in Chicago. Bird’s tongue sounds great, but red-winged blackbird tongue soup sounds even better.

    • Leah Walker
      June 9, 2013

      I’m not going to even pretend that I know what you’re talking about, Ted.

  • thelazytravelers
    June 7, 2013

    JEALOUSY. that is all.

    • Leah Walker
      June 9, 2013

      You both are about to be in France, so I don’t want to hear a word.

  • lola dimarco
    June 9, 2013

    starving now. want to go back to PARIS STAT!!

    • Leah Walker
      June 9, 2013

      It’s a date, Lola.

  • Iwana
    April 26, 2017

    Hi there! 4 years down the road, is this still a good trek? Anything you would add or delete?

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