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France, Paris II. – City of the Famous and the Wise

Published: 4.6.2014
After a brief introduction of Paris last time we move to exact places. Our trip begins in the Latin Quarter. We walk through two beautiful boulevards and visit perhaps the most known tomb in the world.

We started our Paris trip at place from where even today many wise and educated people come from. This place is called the Latin Quarter. The name can arouse notion that ethnic minorities live there. It is not true. The name was derived from the fact that latin is has been used in education.

University Sorbonna   University Sorbonna

The Latin Quarter – Labyrinth of Streets
The Latin Quarter is located east from Saint - Michel boulevard built in the 19Th century by Baron Haussmann. Together with Rue Saint - Jacques Street makes historical spine of Paris going from the north to the south. Thanks to its location Saint- Michel became a place of street fights between police and students in 1968. Today, fortunately, it has regained its French charm and unique atmosphere of breathtaking fountains between small squares, large and small bookstores, clothing stores, hotels, classic coffee bars and university buildings. It was interesting to find out that on one place it crosses less known Saint - Germain boulevard named after Bishop German. The boulevard runs along the oldest abbey in Paris, Saint - Germain - des - Prés. We captured only a bit of its charm. We have to admit, its gorgeous.

Pařížský bulvár   Paris Boulevard

Pařížský bulvár   Paris Boulevard

There are many schools in the Latin Quarter – elementary, lyceums, or the famous Sorbonna, the largest university center in France. The Latin Quarter is an ancient labyrinth of streets. Since time immemorial, intellectuals and artists met there and enjoyed Bohemian lifestyle. During our walk in the streets of this quarter even we felt extraordinary. One just doesn’t see so many schools at one place every day. We were very surprised by the fact that currently more than 70 000 students at Sorbonne. No wonder, this school was visited even by such glorious figures as St Albert the Great, St Bonaventura, St Thomas Aquinas or Honoré de Balzac. One of the world oldest universities was founded in 1253 as a student dormitory by theologist Robert de Sorbon. It was dedicated to poor students. During its history it influenced social life not only in France itself but also outside its borders. Its importance could be also demonstrated on the fact that in 1431 it approved the execution of Joann of Arc . Also the famous cardinal Richelieu was buried on the university compounds, in the chapel of St Ursula. We could continue tracing the history of the university for a long time. However, now we move to the perhaps most famous tomb in Paris, the legendary Pantheon.
Latinská čtvrť   Universita Sorbonna

Universita Sorbonna    Pohled od Panteonu


Pantheon – the place of rest and a discovery
The most known landmark in the Latin Quarter is Pantheon. We got to this dominant landmark after getting through a web of mildly steep streets. Pantheon is located on a hilly area. In the front of its enormous square, surrounded by university buildings, is a magnificent view over Paris. From this place we have also seen the iron lady for the first time, Eiffel Tower. This rich building is located on a place of former basilica of St Genevieve. Since 1755 Pantheon has its present looks. After the French revolution it became a tomb. Many famous people found their final place of rest here: Voltaire, the Curies, Victor Hugo, Alexander Dumas, Émile Zola or Joseph Louis Lagrange.

PanteonPantheon

A view of Pantheon kostel za Panteonem


Except for the final place of rest of famous figures, Pantheon hides one more secret. Jean Bernard Léon Foucault’s Pendulum. He hung it in the dome and until the present, the copy of it is present there. Pantheon thus became a place of an experiment that had to prove that the Earth rotates. We were, on the other hand, admired famous people, buildings and consequences of education in the Latin Quarter. For now, we end our tour de Paris. Until the next week. Then we return here.

Text and photo: Oskár Mažgút



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