The river Seine passes through the center of Paris. The Left Bank (Rive Gauche) is the bank of the Seine which is to the left as it heads toward the sea. At Paris, the river flows roughly westwards, cutting the city into two halves; the Right Bank, to the north, and the Left Bank, to the south.
The Left Bank is one of the city's most romantic districts. This is the Paris of another era, the Paris of Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and dozens of other members of the great artistic community at Montparnasse.
More than simply a geographical region, the Left Bank has become a name for a particular style of life, fashion, or "look". Some of its famous streets are the Boulevards Saint Germain des Prés, Saint Michel, and the Rue d'Ulm.
Compare with Right Bank for additional facts about Paris.