The Seine snakes through the city cutting it into two very distinct sides: the Rive Droite (Right Bank) and Rive Gauche (Left Bank). The Left Bank is home to the Eiffel Tower, but it was also considered the city’s literary hub. In one of the most infamous neighborhoods, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the bustling Boulevard Saint-Germain is where 2-century artists and writers like Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Pablo Picasso, and Ernest Hemingway once worked and gathered at spots like Brasserie Lipp, Café de Flore, and Les Deux Magots.
The area is well-connected thanks to the Line 4 metro, and close enough to walk to major museums like Musée d’Orsay and the Louvre. Saint Germain was once a popular place for jazz music following the first World War, and in the neighboring Latin Quarter, Le Caveau de la Huchette still offers a program of nightly live music in its subterranean jazz club. Since Saint Germain is lined with mostly high-end shops (it’s where the world’s first department store, Le Bon Marché, is located), it can be on the quieter side in the evenings.
Rent is high here, but the location and quintessential Parisian buildings and parks are what make Saint Germain such a great place to live and work. In between upscale eateries like Quinsou and COYA, you’ll find a handful of neighborhood spots where locals gather over small plates and wine, such as Au Sauvignon and Avant Comptoir du Marché. Coworking spaces like La Bulle and specialty coffee shops like Ten Belles 6 and Coutume are also catering to a younger crowd of independent workers.
Saint Germain blends seamlessly into Montparnasse, a more affordable (and less trafficked) neighborhood in the 14arrondissement that was a hotspot in the Roaring Twenties thanks to bistros and cafes like La Coupole, Le Dôme, and La Closerie des Lilas. While some Parisians think of the 56-floor Montparnasse Tower as an eyesore, it offers one of the best panoramic views of the city from the top floor observation deck. Continue your tour exploring below ground in the centuries-old quarries forming the Catacombs, or admire the latest exhibit at glass-encased contemporary art gallery Fondation Cartier. Rue de la Gaité is the heart of the neighborhood’s theater district, where greats like Juliette Gréco got her start at the Théâtre de la Gaîté Montparnasse, and it’s now lined with lively cafés and restaurants. For wine, don’t miss La Quincave or Fulgurances à l’Entrepôt, which brings guest chefs for multi-month residencies. For coworking, try Wojo Paris 14e – Montparnasse Gaîté or Newtown Square.
Splitting her time between Miami and Paris, Lane covers travel, lifestyle, wine, and food for publications such as Travel + Leisure and Vogue.com.
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