Left Bank or Right Bank: Which Parisian Are You?

Left Bank or Right Bank: Which Parisian Are You?

Left bank (Carin Olsson)

If you’ve ever dreamed of living in Paris, chances are you’ve thought about where. A funky Montmartre studio with a view? Perhaps a swank one-bedroom in the 6ème with herringbone floors and marble mantles sends your heart racing? Whether you’re more Marais hideaway or St Germain Haussmannian, it turns out that where you live in Paris says quite a lot about you.

HiP Paris Blog, Carin Olsson, Left or Right Bank

Left bank (Carin Olsson)

HiP Paris Blog, Carin Olsson, Left or Right Bank

Right bank (Carin Olsson)

Most Parisians are deeply devoted to their neighborhoods and can wax poetic on their unique charms. As to whether they prefer the Rive Gauche or Rive Droite, ask any Parisian and you’re sure to get an opinion. Having now lived on both sides of the Seine, I’ve got a few of my own. Here’s how to decode the meaning behind the coveted Parisian address.

HiP Paris Blog, Sara Berger, Left or Right Bank

Sara Berger

Left Bank Lovely. Feel like donning an Hermes carré and enjoying a taste of old school Paris? The grand cafés of St Germain des Pres await. Alas, de Beauvoir and Sartre have long since fled but the swooping waiters and retro vibe are still reminiscent of the Left Bank’s intellectual heyday.

HiP Paris Blog, Carin Olsson, Left or Right Bank

Left bank (Carin Olsson)

HiP Paris Blog, j.hietter, Left or Right Bank

Right bank (j.hietter)

HiP Paris Blog, faungg, Left or Right Bank

faungg

While literary Montparnasse is now a nostalgic figment, the Sorbonne still hums with a heady intellectualism and the Latin Quarter’s vintage bookshops cling resolutely to its smaller streets. Look past the glitz into the little streets behind the Pantheon to find a slice of ancient Paris just waiting to be rediscovered.

HiP Paris Blog, evelina ander, Left or Right Bank

Île Saint Louis (evelina ander)

HiP Paris Blog, Carin Olsson, FXTC, Left or Right Bank

Right bank (Carin Olsson & FXTC)

And then there’s that garden. A visit to the Luxembourg Gardens in spring will make a Left Bank lover out of any diehard Right Banker. Kids still push wooden sailboats with sticks as lovers wander under its shaded canopy of elm trees. Every true Parisian loves the Luxembourg Gardens.

HiP Paris Blog, Carin Olsson, Left or Right Bank

Right bank (Carin Olsson)

HiP Paris Blog, Carin Olsson, Left or Right Bank

Left & right bank (Carin Olsson)

Food and Fashion. But if the Left Bank is lovely, the Right Bank has the buzz. From supperclubs and concept stores to art galleries and wine bars, if it’s new and happening, it’s probably on the Right Bank. The best young chefs have set up shop in the 10th and 11th and the cool kids while away the hours along the Canal Saint Martin. The bars around Bastille hum at all hours and the bustling marchés burst with life and color. Life’s a rich mosaic here and seems less hemmed in by the rules of Left Bank Paris.

HiP Paris Blog, Leo-TX, Left or Right Bank

View from the right bank (Leo-TX)

HiP Paris Blog, Carin Olsson, Left or Right Bank

Left & right bank (Carin Olsson)

As for me, I’ll always love the Right Bank and feel invigorated by its street art, surprises and small artisans who ply their craft in little kitchens and hidden ateliers. It’s where I first fell in love with Paris and for that, I will always remain true. A recent stroll down the rue Vieille du Temple was the perfect reminder: it’s artsy, historic and beautifully imperfect all at once.

HiP Paris Blog, Sara Berger, Left or Right Bank

Right bank (Sara Berger)

HiP Paris Blog, Carin Olsson, Left or Right Bank

Left bank (Carin Olsson)

And so that day, I crossed back over the Seine with a twinge of regret. Then the majestic lawns of Les Invalides – where my kids romp happily and we enjoy our summer picnics – spread out before me and I felt that bit of love for my own current slice of the city. So, Left Bank or Right Bank. Who says you can’t be both?

HiP Paris Blog, Sara Berger, Left or Right Bank

Sara Berger

Related links:

  • The blog “A Girl, A Style” takes you on a stroll around the beautiful left bank through photographs
  • “Tampa Bay Times” decides to explore Paris beyond the left and the right bank
  • For more opinions on the left bank vs. right bank subject check out Paris on Demand’s post

Written by Paige Bradley Frost for the HiP Paris Blog. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, London, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.

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