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Place St-Michel

place st michel

Metro : St-Michel
The Place St-Michel has always been the principle meeting point for the students of Paris. This vast esplanade, perfectly located at the crossroads of the most important streets of the 5th arrondissement, is also the gateway to the Latin Quarter, serving Paris’ most famous university, the Sorbonne. The youth of Paris have throughout the centuries chosen to gather here, and in the neighbouring small, ancient streets. The first insurrections of the Paris Commune took place in this spot, as did the initial protests during the student uprising of May, ’68. The place’s superb fountain, adorned with statues of lions and located against the buildings of Boulevard St-Michel, was constructed in 1860. It stands along with a monumental statue of the archangel Saint-Michel bringing down a dragon. Just across the road from the fountain can be found the most famous bookstore in Paris, Gilbert Jeune, favoured hangout for the area’s students. Walking west of the place one finds oneself in the islet of Saint-Séverin, an area renowned for having preserved its medieval appearance. The pedestrian streets la Huchette, le Chat qui Péche and Xavier Privas are prime examples of this with their half-timbered homes and overhanging facades. Overlooked by the sweeping renovations made to Paris during the Haussman era the quarter retains a populist reputation, a place where one can eat on the cheap in one of the many restaurants, including Greek, Italian and Arab establishments. Bursting with energy each night, one can find the music of the world emanating from the many bars, restaurants and cafés. For lovers of Gothic architecture, the Church Saint-Séverin is also found here.

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