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The arrondissements of Paris with the river Seine bisecting the city. The Rive Gauche is the southern part.

The Rive Gauche (French pronunciation: [ʁiv ɡoʃ]; Left Bank) is the southern bank of the river Seine in Paris. Here the river flows roughly westward, cutting the city in two parts. When facing downstream, the southern bank is to the left, whereas the northern bank (or Rive Droite) is to the right.

The Rive Gauche is associated with artists, writers and philosophers, including Colette, Margaret Anderson, Djuna Barnes, Natalie Barney, Sylvia Beach, Erik Satie, Kay Boyle, Bryher, Caresse Crosby, Nancy Cunard, H.D., Janet Flanner, Jane Heap, Maria Jolas, Mina Loy, Henry Miller, Adrienne Monnier, Anaïs Nin, Jean Rhys, Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, Renee Vivien, Edith Wharton [1] Pablo Picasso, Arthur Rimbaud, Paul Verlaine, Henri Matisse, Jean-Paul Sartre, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Baldwin, [2] as well as dozens of other members of the great artistic community at Montparnasse. [3]

The phrase implies a sense of bohemianism, counterculture and creativity. [4] Some of its famous streets are the Boulevard Saint-Germain, Boulevard Saint-Michel, the Rue de Vaugirard, Rue Bonaparte and the Rue de Rennes.

The Latin Quarter is situated on the Rive Gauche, within the 5th and 6th arrondissements in the vicinity of the University of Paris. [5] In the 12th century, the philosopher Pierre Abélard helped create the neighborhood when, due to his controversial teaching, he was pressured into relocating from the prestigious Île de la Cité to a less conspicuous residence. As he and his followers populated the Left Bank, it became famous for the prevalence of scholarly Latin spoken there. [6] The area's origin story formed the basis of the saying, "Paris 'learned to think' on the Left Bank". [6]

See also


  1. ^ Shari Benstock, Women of the Left Bank, 1986
  2. ^ Washington, Ellery. "James Baldwins's Paris". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  3. ^ Mills, Ian. "Hemingway's Paris - Part 2". Discover France. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  4. ^ Noel, Josh. "Left Bank vs. Right: A tale of two cities". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 14 March 2013. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  5. ^ "Paris | Definition, Points of Interest, Facts, & History - The Invalides". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2018-01-26.
  6. ^ a b Horne, Alistair (2004). La Belle France. USA: Vintage. p. 18. ISBN  9781400034871.

Further reading

  • Baxter, John. Montparnasse: Paris's District of Memory and Desire (2017)
  • Benstock, Shari. Women of the Left Bank: Paris, 1900–1940 (1986)
  • Lottman, Herbert R. The Left Bank: Writers, Artists, and Politics from the Popular Front to the Cold War (1982)
  • Muir, Kate. Left Bank (2006)
  • Poirier, Agnes. Left Bank: Art, Passion, and the Rebirth of Paris, 1940–50 (2018)
  • Webster, Paul. Saint-Germain-des-Pres (1984)
  • Weiss, Andrea. Paris Was a Woman: Portraits of the Left Bank (2013)