The Latin Quarter – This is the precinct of the Université de Paris (it’s most famous branch, the Sorbonne), where students meet and fall in love over café crème and croissants. Named le Quartier Latin after the students and the professors who spoke Latin in the classroom and on the streets. The sector teems with restaurants, cafes, bookstalls, caveaux (basement nightclubs), clochards (bums), chiffonniers (ragpickers), and gamins (kids). – Frommer’s
Reunited, but still cold, we wandered the St. Germaine area for while looking for a cozy restaurant to enjoy a great meal. We succeeded in finding the charming Vins et Terroirs. We tucked into a back table in the small, but filled restaurant. I adored the atmosphere, while enjoying the classic French food even more. (An experience I missed my first time in Paris.) We leisurely enjoyed our lamb medallions, braised duck, and pork loin while sipping wine… and generally thawing out. After our meal, we grabbed a couple of drinks at bar recommended by our waiter and called it an early night.
The next day, allowing ourselves to sleep in just a bit, we were back on the streets late morning. I contented myself with two of my most favorite things; a banana/Nutella crêpe and a double espresso… then spent time in my favorite place in the world, Shakespeare & Co. Kenia and Mom loved it too, allowing me more time to browse. Forgetting that I didn’t have much room in my luggage, I purchased three books, although I wanted many more. I grabbed a graphic novel for Mekhi, Orwell’s Down & Out in Paris & London (not only appropriate, but also recommended to me by Stephen our night in Soho), and a replacement of the Sarah Waters book I lost in London… so I could finally finish it! Despite the fact I would have been perfectly happy spending the entire day in the bookshop, we spent the rest of the day practically walking around the entire Left Bank. We were blessed with mildly warm weather that day, which allowed for more wandering.
Walking along the Seine, we turned down rue Jussieu popping in and out of a few shops and made our way into Jardin des Plantes. I love European gardens…actually, I love all gardens. It’s so easy to relax in a garden with all the trees, flowers, pathways, and general ambience. We followed a small dirt walkway up a loose circle to the top of a hill where there sat a small, metal gazebo overlooking the spiraled hedges of the park with a great view of the neighborhood. Taking a moment to relax, we were soon joined by a cluster of small children carrying colorful balloons. Suddenly the quiet moment turned into a welcome frenzy of laughter, shouting, bright scarves, puffy coats, and giggles. As we were leaving, Kenia made friends with one particularly adorable little girl as she was pulled to inspect one of the small hedge nook to hide in.
Across the street from the garden, we settled at the Moorish styled café on the corner with beautiful bright yellow and blue wicker chairs strewn around the shaded outdoor terrace. Too lovely to resist, we sat and enjoyed some their special mint tea in pretty, Moroccan tea glasses, being passed around by a waiter. I was momentarily threatened by a rogue pigeon, but there was no incident. After asking where we can buy the tea, we were directed across a courtyard to a small boutique in the back. This long, narrow room was filled with colorful scarves, hookahs, incense, and a never-ending choice of teas. I later learned the name; Café Maure de la Mosquée. It’s part of, Grande Mosquée de Paris, the largest mosque in France. For any of you wondering how we failed to notice “the largest mosque in France,” it’s because you can only see the café at first. We did actually notice the rest of the building after rounding the corner on our continued day wandering the Left Bank.
I may not be observant, but that would be purely ridiculous. I assure you.