The Rue Monge Quartier – A Slice of La Vie Parisienne

There are a lot of great streets in Paris — streets of historical importance, streets of interest to visitors, streets with iconic buildings and monuments. But among all the streets we're particularly drawn to the rues and avenues that evidence real Parisian life. Places where people live, shop, and dine. Among these, Rue Monge, and the surrounding quartier, is one of our favorites.

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The Heart of the Latin Quarter

Rue Monge

Rue Monge runs north-south in the center of the Latin Quarter, with the Pantheon and Rue Mouffetard — both of particular interest to visitors — to the west and Jardin des Plantes and the Natural History Museum — of particular interest to Parisians — to the east. This is a residential neighborhood, with the shops and services needed by the Parisians who live here — boulangeries, boucheries, wine stores, grocery stores, produce markets, hair salons, pharmacies.

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On Rue Monge

Today the area is a tangle of Roman ruins, medieval remains, and modern buildings, laced with narrow streets and alleys yet well supplied with shopping and urban transportation. The street was named for Gaspard Monge (1746-1818), originally from Beaune in Burgundy, a French mathematician.

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On Rue Monge

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The street was built in about 1859 to connect Avenue des Gobelins to Place Maubert at what is now Boulevard Saint-Germain. Walking along modern Rue Monge you note that many of the buildings date from the 19th century, but what you may not realize is that Rue Monge runs through the oldest district in Paris. Western neighbors Rue Saint-Jacques and Rue Mouffetard vie for the title of oldest street in Paris, while on the east side of Rue Monge are the remains of a larger Roman arena, today called Arène de Lutèce after the original name of the Roman town that became Paris — Lutetia.

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On Rue Monge

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In fact, it was during the construction of Rue Monge that the remain of the arena were first uncovered, after having been buried and forgotten for a dozen centuries. (The neighborhood was called les Arènes, although no one seemed to know why!) In those crazy mad days of Paris rebuilding under Napoleon II and Baron Haussmann they weren't going to let some old stones get in the way of modernization and were about to destroy the remains. Luckily, a group of citizens, led by none other than Victor Hugo, successfully lobbied to save what was left of the arena.

Hotel Monge

Hotel Monge

Since it opened only a couple of year ago Hotel Monge has been our go-to hotel in Paris. As its name implies, it's located in the wonderful Rue Monge neighborhood with easy access to the things you want to see while you're in Paris. Everything about the Hotel Monge is excellent — the best hotel beds and pillows ever, fantastic lighting design, great staff and service. Since we started singing its charms, Hotel Monge has become incredibly busy, so be sure to book early.

The Market at Place Monge

Place Monge

The escalator up from the Monge Metro station (line 7) takes you to Place Monge, the center of the life of the quartier. There are trees, a nice fountain, and a lot of permanent stalls for the 3-times-week market. Here you will find locals shopping for their daily food needs at the vendors specializing in cheese, meats, produce, olives, flowers, charcuterie, the the other essentials of Parisian life.

The market takes place Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. It starts in the morning, but by 1 PM it's gone, so be sure to get out of bed in time!

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