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The Latin Quarter of Paris was first settled by the Romans in the first century AD. They built an amphitheatre and thermal baths, as well as laying many roads (eg the modern Rue St Jacques). One of the best examples of this period of the left bank's history is the Cluny National Medieval Museum, which is housed in part in an ancient bath house. However, it is not from these Latin-speakers that the district takes its name.

In the 12th century, the University of Paris took up residence in the old Notre Dame cloister on the Left Bank. Since then, the Latin Quarter has been known for its scholarly tendencies. The original scholars spoke Latin, and it is from this fact that the quarter takes its name. Indeed, Latin was the official language of the quarter until 1793.

The most prestigous university in France, the Sorbonne, was founded by Robert de Sorbon in 1253. The university was established as a school for the poor, and has now grown to be equal in standing to the English Oxbridge colleges.

It was in the Latin Quarter, and at the Sorbonne in particular, that the student riots of May 1968 began.

One of the tourist attractions to be found here is the Panthéon. The "Quartier Latin" is one of Paris' most attractive areas. The steep cobbled streets on and around Mt. St-Geneviève provide the perfect setting for romantic strolls, especially on a warm summer evening, when the view of Paris is spectacular. In the day time, the abundance of little cafés, restaurants and second-hand bookshops makes the Latin Quarter the epitome of Gai Paris.

(With help from pariserve.tm.fr)

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