THE LATIN QUARTER

The busiest spot in the Latin Quarter , place St-Michel, holds much political history: the Paris Commune began here in 1871, as did the 1968 student uprising. The majestic 1860 fountain features bronze dragons and an angelic St. Michel slaying a dragon, and commemorates the citizens who felt defending their quarter during the August 1944 Liberation of Paris. The area is generally associated with artists, intellectual and a bohemian way of life; this is mainly due to the thousands of students that live around. Today the eastern half of this area has become sufficiently chic, however, to house members of the French Establishment.

THE PANTHÉON


Panthéon
Panthéon, Paris
The domed landmark now known as the Panthéon, one of the most beautiful buildings in Paris, was commissioned around 1750 as an abbey church, but because of financial problems the massive structure wasn't completed until 1789. Two years later, the Constituent Assembly converted it into a secular mausoleum for the great men of the era of French liberty. After a further stint as a church, the Panthéon once again became a secular necropolis. Permanent guests of the Panthéon include Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Louis Braille, Emile Zola, Jean Moulin, René Cassin and Pierre et Marie Curie. The Panthéon's ornate marble interior is gloomy in the extreme, but you get a great view of the city from around the colonnated dome, which is visible from all over Paris.

JARDIN DES PLANTES - MUSÉE NATIONAL D’HISTOIRE NATURELLE


Jardin des Plantes
Jardin des Plantes
The Jardin des Plantes is the perfect place for wanderers, kids, picnickers, gardeners and just about anyone else who enjoys a good walk communing with nature.
The second largest park on the Left Bank of the Seine, the garden was founded by Louis XIII in 1626. It contains a maze, small zoo and a natural science museum.
By entering the garden from this side, you will first see the Musée National d’Historie Naturelle. The museum contains exhibits of palaeontology, paleobotany, mineralogy and entomology. Most interestingly is the Grande Galerie that describes the evolution of animals through models and other fun exhibits.
Musée  Nacional de Historia Natural
Musée National d'Historie Naturelle
The works in Jardin des Plantes started after Louis XIII gave permission to his doctor to grow a medicinal herb garden. It was opened to the public in 1640. Jardin des Plantes still contains the gardens of the École de Botanique (Botanical School). Visitors can also see plants from around the world. The Alpine Garden contains flora from the Alps and Himalayas, among other cold climates. Serres Tropicales (tropical greenhouses) display beautiful tropical vegetation. Another must, especially for kids, is the Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes:the zoo is one of the world’s oldest.

MOSQUÉE – INSTITUT MUSULMAN


The Institut Musulman houses the beautiful Persian gardens, elaborate minaret and shady porticoes of the Mosquée de paris, mosque built in 1920 by French architect to honour the role played by the North Africa’s countries during the first world war. The cedar doors open onto an oasis of blue and white where Muslims from around the world come to meet around the fountains and pray in the carpeted prayer rooms. Tourists can also relax in the steam baths at the charming Hammam (Turkish bath) or sip mint tea at the equally soothing café.

VAL DE GRÂCE


Val de Grâce
Val de Grâce
In 1621, Anne of Austria housed the Benedictines of the Deep Valley, called the Valley of Grace (Val de Grâce). Upon the birth of the future Louis XIV in 1637, she decided to put up a baroque-style church. This church, started by Mansart, was completed by Le Mercier, Le Muet, and Le Duc. There are many beautiful sculptures here as well as some magnificent compositions. The dome and the cupola are divinely decorated. After the Revolution, the Val de Grace became a military hospital.

LA SORBONNE


La Sorbonne
La Sorbonne
La Sorbonne, was founded in 1253 as a dormitory for 16 theology students and it’s one of the oldest universities in Europe. Soon after its founding, the Sorbonne became the administrative base for the University of Paris and the site of France’s first printing house, opened in 1469. Today the Sorbonne, is in the folds of governmental administration, officially known as Paris IV, the 4th University of Paris’ 13 campuses. Its main building, Ste-Ursule de la Sorbonne, now closed to the public, was commissioned by Cardinal Richelieu in 1642.tourists can visit the Chappelle de la Sorbonne, an impressive space which houses temporary exhibitions on the arts and letters.

ST-SÉVERIN


St-Séverin
St-Séverin
Across boulevard St-Jacques lies an architectural behemoth, the huge, bizarre and wonderful Eglise St-Séverin. Spiralling columns and sweepingly modern stained glass ornament the interior of the Gothic Complex. The first basilica was built on the site in the sixth century and named after a wise hermit who lived here. One of his famous disciples was Saint Cloud — the grandson of the Frankish King Clovis and Saint Clotilde — who decided to become a monk instead of claiming his Frankish kingdom. The basilica was destroyed later by the Vikings.
Although named after Saint Severin, this church is also known as the church of the travellers because it had a chapel dedicated to St. Martin. Those leaving on pilgrimage would dedicate their horse shoes to St. Martin and attach them to his image after they crossed the “Petit Pont” nearby, the bridge used in medieval times.

UNIVERSITÉS PIERRE ET MARIE CURIE


In this area lies the University dedicated to Marie Curie, renowned scientist in her own right and co-discoverer of radium with her husband, Pierre, made possible many of the major medical diagnostic techniques that we all take for granted today. Anyone who has ever had an x-ray owes Marie Curie a debt of gratitude, not only for her scientific research, but for her tireless work to set up and use x-ray machines on the battlefields of Europe during World War I. Madame Curie was the special guest of honour at the dedication of Hepburn Hall for Chemistry at St. Lawrence University in 1929.


PLACE SAINT MICHEL


The busiest spot in the Latin Quarter, place St-Michel, holds much political history: the Paris Commune began here in 1871, as did the 1968 student uprising. The majestic 1860 fountain features bronze dragons and an angelic St. Michel slaying a dragon. The monument was commissioned by the Baron Haussmann to fill in an unsightly empty place, the façade of the building just in front of the bridge.