The heart of Paris’s Latin Quarter is in the fifth arrondissement, where the Rue Mouffetard has as discreet, village-like charm. The name Mouffetard comes from the French expression “ça mouffe,” which means “that smells bad.” In the Middle Ages, the street was one of passageways for the Paris sewers, making it one of the French capital’s dirtiest and smelliest streets.
For a long time, the neighborhood was a haunt for poets—of more and less good reputation. Paul Verlaine, Prosper Mérimée, James Joyce and Ernest Hemingway all lived here. Victor Hugo came to the Rue Mouffetard in search of an Old Paris atmosphere for his Les Misérables.
The old stones and buildings in the neighborhood seem to tell stories, and the streets are full of life day and night. It is one of the most picturesque areas in Paris.
The street itself leads to the Place de la Contrescarpe, where students gather. This is one of my favorite places in the city. I like the cobblestones, the cafés, the fountain and the funny streetlamps. It has an atmosphere conducive both to encounters and to literary travels.
No matter the season, if you are in the neighborhood, I recommend going to the top of the Montagne Sainte-Geneviève, where you will find the Pantheon, a mausoleum for distinguished French citizens. The nearby Saint-Étienne du Mont Church is worth the detour for its architecture, and the surrounding neighborhood hold several prestigious institutions and schools.
Mary Bearden personally reviewed these products. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, just a sample product. All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from yours.