“Paris is not a city. It’s a world,” exclaimed the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V in 1540. Three centuries later, Victor Hugo, the greatest French writer (Les Misérables), said: “Breathe Paris in. It nourishes the soul.” And Jules Renard compared the City of Light to Eden: “Add two letters do Paris and it’s paradis(e).”
Today, in the social media era, quotes about Paris are less poetic and wise, but they still emphasize the attraction that Paris has on its visitors and on millions of people who dream of visiting Paris one day. “I feel like Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge,” says Emily (Lilly Collins) when she enters her small studio in Paris, opens the window and sees the lovely green courtyard with the fountain (picture above).
Emily’s adventure in Paris starts in the fifth arrondissement (district), in the Quartier Latin, as the French say. What’s so special about the students district known for its prestigious university La Sorbonne? What should you see? Where should you stay? And what should you eat? Our travel editor has just come back from a business trip and reveals her favourite hotel and the best places in Emily’s Latin Quarter in Paris (no sponsoring).
And yes, we’ll reveal where to find the building in which Emily and Gabriel live (picture below). And the courtyard with the fountain. And Gabriel’s restaurant.
SEVEN, THE NEW ART DECO BOUTIQUE HOTEL
The official website presents it as a glamour hotel, and it truly is. Not only for fashionistas, interior design lovers and fans of The Hoxton in Paris. Tucked away from the tumult of the city, the Seven is located close to Rue Mouffetard, the Panthéon, Emily’s apartment, the Saint-Germain-des-Prés quarter, the Luxembourg Gardens and Notre Dame Cathedral.
I booked a Cocooning Room for 126 Euros (low season, end of August). The room was amazing, not only the design with the Art deco elements and the pale pink base colour, but also the fittings and the furnishings. I particularly loved the bathroom and the shower on the right and the left side of the bed. White Villeroy & Boch marble combined with a beautiful warm lightning. The bed was one of the best I ever slept in. Guests can also watch Netflix on the big TV screen. The room’s size, 15 square meters (161.5 sq. ft), was perfect (bear in mind that most Parisian hotels offer much smaller rooms). The hotel also offers seven spacious suites. That’s the reason the 4-star design hotel is called Seven. It is part of the Elegancia Hotels Group, which unfortunately doesn’t even reply to media photo requests.
The lounge area looks like a stylish living room and attracts hotel guests who love to spend hours working on their laptops. According to the receptionist, some business guests book a stay at the Seven hotel mainly to work in the stylish and quiet sitting area.
It takes about 15 minutes to walk from the hotel to Emily’s apartment and 20 minutes to walk from the hotel to the Pantheon. If you want to visit the Louvre, the Marais or the Eiffel Tower, you have to take the metro or a taxi.
THE BEST RESTAURANTS AND STREET FOOD
The rue Mouffetard is a paradise for food lovers. Restaurants, bars, bakeries, chocolate shops, pastry shops, cheese delis, crêperies, pizzerie, wine shops etc. There are about one hundred places where you can taste delicious food from all over the world. Bon appétit!
THE BEST PASTRY CHEF CREATIONS
Many French pastry chefs have become celebrities in France. Most of them worked as a pastry chef for a five-star hotel in Paris before they opened their own pastry shops. In the Latin Quarter, I highly recommend that you taste the amazing pastries of Carl Marletti (51, rue Censier) and Aux Merveilleux de Fred (2, rue Monge). Japanese chef Sadaharu Aoki (56, Boulevard du Port-Royal) combines French and Japanes pastry tradition with a modern touch.
A GUIDED TOUR OF THE LATIN QUARTER WITH A NORWEGIAN NOVELIST
Even though I know Paris quite well, I booked a 90-minute walking tour of the 5th arrondissement. The tour guide Hella, a Norwegian university professor and author, was excellent. She told us many things we wouldn’t have found in a guidebook.
WONDER WOMAN, BATMAN, STAR WARS, TINTIN & MANGA
The huge Album Comics bookshop (67, Boulevard Saint-Germain) is the Parisian hub for comics fans. They offer a large selection of comics, illustrations and art books in English and French as well as memorabilia (e. g. cups). Their shop window features countless miniatures from fantasy and science-fiction worlds.
VISIT THE EMILY IN PARIS FILM LOCATIONS
A building in the Latin Quarter has become the new place of worship of women all over the world: 1 Place de l’Estrapade. In the Netflix show Emily in Paris, which has been streamed in more than 90 countries, the young American lives in a studio on the last floor of the building (French call it “chambre de bonne” because it used to be a maid’s room). Fans of the series love to take pictures in front of the building and in the courtyard next to the fountain – all day long.
The scenes of Emily and Gabriel standing in front of the building were shot there as well as the dinner of Emily and her friends and working colleagues having dinner in the courtyard (see photos above). Moreover, the building, the courtyard and the fountain can also be seen whenever Emily leaves her flat or walks to Gabriel’s restaurant.
Fans can’t enter the building. The door can only be opened with a code. The scenes in the apartments of Emily and Gabriel were shot in a film studio, not in the building mentioned above. Needless to say that none of the actors live there.
Gabriel’s restaurant is just a 2-minute walk away from Emily’s flat. It’s called Terra Nera and they serve Italian food (18, Rue des Fossés Saint-Jacques). If you want to eat there, make sure to sit outside, where several scenes of the Netflix show were shot.
Opposite Terra Nera is the Café de la Nouvelle Marie, where Emily and Mindy are having a coffee (see picture above). Next to the café is the blue Portuguese and Brazilian bookshop you often see when Emily leaves the building.
The bakery, in which Emily buys her first pain au chocolat in French, is called Boulangerie moderne Rabineau and is located in 16, Rue des Fossés Saint-Jacques
The huge park in which Emily goes jogging in the morning is called Jardin du Luxembourg. It hosts the Palais du Luxembourg, wich was a residence for the Royal Family before it was turned into a prison during the French Revolution. Today, it’s the senat’s building.
WHICH IS THE SPOOKIEST PLACE IN PARIS?
BEST PHOTO EXHIBITION
The Musée Maillol in the 6th arrondissement, which is close to the Latin Quarter, showcases a unique Elliot Erwitt retrospection until 24 September 2023.
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Photos: Courtesy of Stéphanie Branc for Netflix; Seven Hotel Paris.