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  • sarastgeorge7

A home from home

Updated: Apr 8, 2023

“If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less but to dream more, to dream all the time”— Marcel Proust. With its lively, friendly village feel, the 5th Arrondissement or 'Quartier Latin' next to the Seine, is where I have chosen call home.

Students keep the area young and alive while some of the the Cities most important sites imbue the area with a sense of history. The 5th was named "Quartier Latin" during the Middle Ages, when the students of the nearby University 'La Sorbonne' studied in Latin. Once known as the Roman village of Lutetia it is full of historical curiosities, some of which date back to the first century.

A few of the historical highlights in this quartier include

1. The Panthéon A monument and mausoleum to France's greatest men (and two women). and home to Foucault's famous, and mind blowing, pendulum (more on that another time)

2. Jardin des Plantes. (botanical garden) During the 17th century, the Jardin des Plantes was used to grow medicinal herbs for royalty. The gardens boast 4,500 different plants. There are also three large greenhouses; one built in the 1800s

3. Rue Mouffetard – Market Street Nicknamed “La Mouffe”, it's one of the oldest streets in Paris and follows the route of an ancient Roman road which once led to Italy via Lyon. In his novel A Movable Feast the American author Ernest Hemingway called this street "that wonderful narrow crowded market street which led into the Place Contrescarpe".

4. The Arenes de Lutece.

One of Paris' best kept secrets is the ancient stadium of Lutetia. Built by the Romans in the first to second century AD, Arenes de Lutece was a vast amphitheatre able to seat between 10,000 and 15,000 spectators. The entire population of Paris was only 20,000 at the time.

But more on these later. My first few days have contained more than I can write about here. With the help of a good friend and fuelled by le petit dejeuner rapide (a hit of espresso and a croissant) at a local boulangerie, I clocked up over 60,000 steps in 3 days exploring the 5th arr. and the Marais along with the parks, museums, shops and everything in between. I've eaten my body weight in Madeleines and éclairs au chocolat and convinced myself that a citron pressé will make everything ok.

The appartement is in a quiet neighbourhood moments from the hustle and bustle. The entrance alone is enough - inside lives up to all expectations. For now I will put my feet up with a nice cup of tea (some habits you will never lose) and see what the coming days have in store.

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