I have a love/hate relationship with Paris as I used to study and live there. There are certain things I adore about the city and some things I tend to avoid. I thought about how to write this post and decided not to do it chronologically, but instead write two different posts. This post focuses on the Rive Gauche (the left/southern bank of the river Seine) and I will write another focusing on the Rive Droite (the right/northern bank of Seine).
So here are my favourite things to do and see on Rive Gauche. I strongly recommend walking in Paris as you get a chance to see so much more.
The Eiffel Tower
Actually, the Eiffel Tower is better admired from afar. Due to increased security measures there is a heavy police presence and a lot of pickpockets in the area. It is a tourist trap so plan you visit well. The view from the top is amazing, but buy the tickets in advance as the queues can get ridiculously long. This time I just walked next to the Tower before going to one of my favourite museums in Paris (the photos from the top are almost a decade old).
The Louvre is a one of kind museum and not many museums can compete with it. Musée d’Orsay is like the Louvre’s little sister in that it gets less attention, but it is still magnificent in its own way.
Musée d’Orsay is less crowded than the Louvre (most days) so you have the chance to explore the museum at your leisure. It has stunning pieces from my favourite artists: Rodin, Degas, Monet, Van Gogh and many more. When I visited they had pieces from Kandinsky as well which was a real treat for me. Buy tickets in advance online to avoid spending time queuing. Make sure to snap a photo of Montmartre behind the clock.
Hôtel des Invalides is a stunning building. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any old photos of the place. If you are a history lover, Les Invalides is the home of Napoleon’s tomb.
Quartier Latien (Latin Quarter) is for the Bohemian spirits. Enter at your own risks! You might want to move to Paris after sitting in a cafe in here and people watching.
Jardin du Luxembourg was my go to park. Between lessons I would often wander here to study and relax.
Notre Dame de Paris is actually on the Île de la Cité island in the middle of the Seine, but I added it to this post. Notre Dame was my favourite place when I lived in Paris. I used to walk next to it on my way to lectures and I get very nostalgic around it. The church is beautiful inside with its glass work. Be aware of pickpockets! When you visit Notre Dame make sure you grab a crepê to go from the nearby cafe. My favourite crepê is the lemon and sugar one! So good! The blurry picture below is old when I actually sat in on one of the cafes. Just how good is a crepê with ice cream?!! Yummy
What else do I have to recommend on the Rive Gauche? Oh, the ponts (the bridges)
Pont Alexandre III is perfect for those Parisian photos and for the lovers the Pont des Arts is the place to visit.
I probably forgot a ton, but here is a start. I’ll edit it later if something comes to mind.