Monday, April 20, 2015

Q = Quarters-Latin and Bastille, French Faves - A to Z Challenge


Paris is divided into districts or boroughs known as arrondissements. Some of the older parts of Paris are also called quarters. Two of these are featured here: the Latin Quarter and the Bastille Quarter.


The Latin Quarter

Literary Café de Flore, Paris, by DG Hudson

Café de Flore

The Café de Flore, at the corner of Boulevard Saint-Germain and Rue St. Benoit, in the 6th arrondissement, is one of the oldest coffeehouses in Paris. It opened in 1885, and is celebrated today for its famous clientele and the memories of times gone by. 

In spite of its gentrification and the loss of its former identity, the Latin quarter continues to attract tourists and Parisians. Those who come hope to find or resurrect the atmosphere and air of change that existed in the writings of Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and others.

The Latin Quarter of Paris is an area in the 5th and 6th arrondissements. Situated on the left bank of the Seine, it includes the Sorbonne. The name of 'Latin Quarter' comes from the language spoken in the Middle Ages, when Latin was the international language of learning.

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Les Deux Magots


Les Deux Magots, Paris, by DG Hudson


Another famous café in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area, Les Deux Magots, was the place to find the literary and intellectual elite of Paris. Its reputation is due to the patronage of intellectuals Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, Surrealist artists and writers, such as Ernest Hemingway, Albert Camus, Pablo Picasso, James Joyce and others. Today, it is mostly a tourist destination and a great people-watching location.

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Student Protests, Latin Quarter

In the legendary riots of 1968 students protested against the De Gaulle government and police brutality. Police were using tear gas and clubs; students were using cobblestones. The workers rallied to the same cause by instigating mass strikes in support. This type of student revolt was also taking place in the USA at colleges and universities.(The infamous Kent State shooting of students by National Guardsmen took place two years later in 1970.)

A Literary Note
Shakespeare and Company Bookstore

The current edition of Shakespeare and Company Bookstore is an update of the original bookstore founded by Sylvia Beach. Read more here. In the 1920s, this bookstore became a focal point for expat Americans Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound and James Joyce. It was also frequently visited by members of the Beat Generation in later decades.

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The Bastille Quarter  


The Place de la Bastille is a square in Paris, where the Bastille Prison stood until the Storming of the Bastille, and its eventual destruction between July 14, 1789 and July 14, 1790 during the French Revolution. No vestige of it remains today. As a result of its historical significance, the square is often the site or departure point for political demonstrations.

Place de la Bastille square straddles three arrondissements: 4th (Marais), the 11th and the 12th. The Bastille name has endured. Also in the square are the Bastille Opera, the Bastille subway station, and a section of the Canal Saint Martin. A railway station which existed before 1984 was removed to make way for the new opera house.


The Bastille Prison
Model at the Louvre


Model of the Bastille Prison, at the Louvre, by DG Hudson

The Bastille, built between 1370 and 1383 was converted to a state prison in the 17th century by Cardinal Richelieu, and housed primarily political prisoners, religious prisoners, seditious writers, and young rakes held at the request of their families. After the reigns of Louis XV and Louis XVI, the use of the infamous cachots (dungeons) and the vermin-infested subterranean cells were abolished. 


The July Column

The July Column, via Creative Commons*, Place de la Bastille  

The July Column (Colonne de Juillet) at the center of the Place de la Bastille square commemorates the events of the July Revolution of 1830

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Have you been to the Latin Quarter or the Bastille Quarter in Paris? Do you know of an equivalent in another city? If so, please let me know. 

Please leave a comment to let me know you stopped by, and if you are part of the A to Z Challenge. I'll be sure to check your blog, and reciprocate. If you're not in the challenge, thanks for stopping by to visit! I try to reply to all comments.

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The A to Z Blog Challenge is brainchild of Lee, at Tossing It Out.  Please visit the A to Z blog site to find out more information and the participant list.  There are also Twitter and Facebook presences if you want to check those!






Place de la Bastille

*Image: Place de la Bastille with July Column
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons, Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported. 
Author: JSquish

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16 comments:

  1. I've always wanted to go to the Shakespeare and Company Bookstore. :)

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    1. That's natural. A writer loves to immerse themselves in books. You'd like the Bouquinistes along the Seine River, too, Chrys. Rare books and other paper items like old posters, etc.

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  2. A lot of wonderful places today. I particularly like the sound of the cafes. So much history and literary connections!

    Annalisa, writing A-Z vignettes, at Wake Up, Eat, Write, Sleep

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the info, Annalisa. Prices might be a bit more in these cafes, but you must consider it paying for the atmosphere and the history, I guess. I'm enjoying all your A to Z vignettes, too.

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  3. Like Chrys, I've always wanted to go to the Shakespeare and Company Bookstore. You know me, my favorite quarter is in New Orleans! :-)

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    1. Yes, I know, Roland. Do they have a bookstore that's similar in New Orleans? Although Shakespeare and Co. is unique in that it offers short term stay for a story. I know of City Lights in Frisco, but not many more.
      Hope your CON time was fun this past weekend!

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  4. Makes my local Starbucks look pretty unromantic!!!

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    1. Yes modernity just doesn't seem the same. Efficiency is the name of Starbucks. One daughter did a stint there and was a top notch barista! I visited a Starbucks in Montmartre near the Moulin Rouge. . .so Paris has them too.

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  5. I don't recall if we were taken to the Latin Quarter or Bastille Quarter. I didn't even know the Bastille was destroyed!

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    1. I think there was enough dislike of the place that no one wanted to see a big hulking prison in the city, even the old city. I believe the stone was recycled into cobbles or other uses.

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  6. Wouldn't want to stay in that prison.
    That first coffee shop has been around forever.

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    1. The Bastille had a nasty reputation. Think Les Miserable and the Scarlet Pimpernel. Yes, Cafe de Flore is an institution, and a mecca for any tourists.

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  7. Hi DG - I'm sure I have been to both places ... but I need a cultural tour of Paris in the near future ... so much to see and then to remember. I'd love to visit the cafes, and Shakespeare and Co, and the bouquinistes along the river bank ...

    A trip to Paris would be wonderful with your blog to hand .. the Bastille name has been retained even if the prison itself was recycled .. understandably I guess.

    Cheers Hilary

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    1. There is a lot to see, like London, Hilary. What I know about the UK, I've learned from you! Yes, I'd love you to use my posts for visiting. I write them with that in mind to help those visiting know what I recommend to see. Others may like the glamour, I like the history and old Paris.

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  8. Interesting bits of history accompanied by your beautiful photography, as usual.

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    1. It gives me an opportunity to share the photos, and every photographer likes to do that. I'm writing a novel about Paris, slowly, and looking at my photos gives me ideas.

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