Planning a trip to Paris? One of your first decisions may be what neighborhood to stay in as your home base. Twenty arrondissements spiral out from the island in the center of the sprawling city. After some study, I chose the 4th, also known as the Latin Quarter. And we felt at home there on arrival.
Here you’ll find the Sorbonne, a university system that dates back to the 1200s. The school today is spread over different campuses, but the stately buildings in the Latin Quarter house the heart of the school.
Around the corner from our hotel you’ll find the Place de la Sorbonne. This is a square flanked by sidewalk cafes out of storybook Paris. People living here walk their dogs, take their kids to school, and rush to work.
We enjoyed a breakfast of croissants and cafe au lait outside, watching the neighbors plunge into their day. In the evenings, we dined in the same restaurant while around us local friends met and students held animated discussions.
The Latin Quarter holds layers of history. For example, during World War II, resistance workers built barricades of furniture in these streets to defy the Nazis. But today, it is home to Parisians whose lives may be much like mine. And for a few magical days, we were a part of life here.