Rive Droite or Rive Gauche?


Traditions are passed on from generation to generation and help shape and influence local culture. Being familiar with local traditions helps you understand the people in your community as well as how to become a part of the community yourself. While France has many traditions and celebrations like Bastille Day (the National Day of France celebrated on July 14) and Paris Fashion Week, I want to talk about a tradition that I have had a chance to experience myself, which is exclusively Parisian and perhaps unfamiliar to many people.

What tradition did I learn about?:

Paris is split into two halves by the Seine River which roughly flows from east to west through the City. The halves are called Rive Gauche which means Left Bank and Rive Droite which means Right Bank. I learned about this "tradition" from a French student that was showing me around when I first arrived in Paris. While walking around the Left Bank, I noticed that many shops and venues had signs that said "Rive Gauche" beneath the store's name. I didn't really understand what it meant so I asked her about it and was instantly intrigued by her answer.