A tiny, lively area centered on Rue St-Denis between Rue Sherbrooke and Boulevard René-Lévesque. The name (in a nod to the Parisian namesake) alludes to the presence of a large university -- in this case, the Université de Québec à Montréal (UQAM).
The area is slowly gentrifying, although progress is uneven (case in point: a stalled construction site on Rue Berry). At least, the redevelopment efforts have yielded one significant result -- the Grande Bibliothèque on Rue Berri. The library is open to the public and is well worth a visit.
The Rue St-Denis, the main artery of the quartier, is also its miniature “restaurant row.” Yet, it appears that a preponderance of students, tourists and various “transients” in the area is not really conducive to serious dining options, because fast food and “Paris-on-the-cheap” imitation cafés abound and with very few exceptions most establishments on Rue St-Denis below Rue Sherbrooke can (and should) be skipped. (Well, unless you are simply looking for a quick bite before catching a movie.) For dining, we recommend that you walk north along Rue St-Denis and cross Rue Sherbrooke to the Plateau: you will have lots of good options.
Given that the Latin Quarter is part of downtown Montreal, generally a safe area of the city, the neighborhood can not be called dangerous; that said, compared to other central districts, it is clearly on the sketchy side. In part this looks to be a result of the proximity of the city's main bus station on Rue Berri, a higher-than-usual number of homeless people on the street, and the persistent drug traffic around the Place Émilie-Gamelin. Also, the bars around St-Denis attract thrill seekers that may not always behave rationally. A combination of these factors has prompted increased police presence in the neighborhood.