After living in France, I have become very familiar with Paris’s different districts or “arrondissements.” The city is divided into 20 administrative divisions, each with its history and vibe. Paris is a very well-planned city that makes it easy to navigate. The first arrondissement starts in the center, followed by the ascending numbers in a spiral turning clockwise. When I look at a map, I think of a snail’s shell, which happens to be a French gastronomic dish. If you do not have a map, it is easy to figure out which district you’re in by looking at the street signs affixed to the sides of buildings on almost every corner of the city. Above the street name, it will show the number such as 8e Arrt, which is short for the huitième arrondissement, the eighth district. The city is divided into two banks: the left and right. The “left bank” refers to the southeast part of the city, and the “right bank” refers to the south north-west side of the Seine river. I am located in the fifth district, known as the Latin quarter, and one of the oldest areas in Paris on the left bank. The area takes its name from the Latin language taught at many schools during the Middle Ages.
The famous monument in my area is the Panthéon which was reconsecrated several times during the 19th century. It served as a church but is now a civic building that serves as a tomb for the remarkable citizens of France, including Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Marie Curie, and Josephine Baker. I had the opportunity to visit the Panthéon and was stunned by the extravagant interior. The building is built of stone and marble and contains the famous Foucault Pendulum copper ball that constantly swings suspended 75 feet above the floor. It is significant because it was visible proof of the earth’s rotation on its axis. Downstairs there are many tunnels to visit the many tombs of notable French citizens. I love my area because it is located in the center, it is effortless to travel around Paris, and it has lots of good places to eat!