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Paris 5 Like a Local: where to eat, play & stay in the Latin Quarter


Paris 5 Like a Local, Latin Quarter and Sorbonne, Paris Districts, Lutetia, 5th Arrondissement of Paris, Paris Travel Inspiration, Paris Bucket List, Paris City Guides, Paris Arrondissement Guide #parislikealocal #parisianer #paris

Paris arrondissement map
A nice introduction to Paris


The 5th Arrondissement of Paris is one of the oldest Paris districts. It is in this district of Paris where the Roman city Lutetia (IC AD) developed along its Cardo Maximus, the present Rue Saint Jacques. Like all the Roman cities, Lutetia had a forum (current Rue Soufflot), a couple of Roman baths (Les Thermes de Lutece) and even an amphitheater known today as Arènes de Lutèce. You probably know about France’s km 0, located in front of Notre Dame. Lutetia ‘s km 0 was somewhere between 172-174 rue S. Jacques.

Pro TipDid you know? Rue Saint Jacques, Paris is the oldest street in Paris. Its original Western alignment is the founding trace of the Roman city of Lutetia (IC AD), the Cardo Maximus. The Cardo Decumanus paths have been almost totally erased from the current topography of Paris.


Apart from Lutetia ‘s Roman layout of streets and main public spaces, another thing that defined Paris 5’s topography was the Bievre river. La Bievre crossed Paris 13 and Paris 5, flowing around Saint Genevieve mountain to finally reach the Seine not far from le Petit Pont. Along the river shores many tinsmiths, shoemakers, and bleachers lived and worked so the area was very dirty and smelly. That’s why in 1860 the city started to cover la Bievre.


The Latin Quarter and its students 

The fifth arrondissement is also called the Latin Quarter. The name comes from Lutetia ‘s former inhabitants but also because later in the Middle Ages it became the center of university life and Latin was commonly spoken by students and religious people. In Paris 5th Arrondissement we find the first universities in the city (i.e La Sorbonne), many beautiful libraries and lots of medieval churches and convents which are worth the visit.

More recently, in May 1968, the Latin Quarter was the center of the student protests, with the occupation of the universities like la Sorbonne. The most famous barricades were those of the rue Gay-Lussac.

Today Paris 5 is the students and intellectuals’ neighborhood. It is also one of the most touristy Paris neighborhoods, the mass and bad tourism in Paris in our opinion. There is much more than Shakespeare & Co, or Rue de la Harpe, believe us. As locals, we know how to enjoy Paris 5 far from the crowds most of the time. Check the list of our proposals to enjoy Paris Like a Local. This time there is a lot of history behind.



No surprises here: you can find all these Paris Monuments and Paris points of interest on all the guidebooks about Paris so no post talking about the fifth arrondissement would be complete without the top tourist attractions in Paris. If this is your first trip to Paris you will like to visit some of them, they are very touristy but beautiful!

Arènes de Lutèce – Lutetia ‘s Roman amphitheater

Le Pantheon of Paris and Foucault Pendulum – Pantheon inside

Grande Galerie de l’Évolution

Institut du Monde Arabe

Cluny Museum – Museum of Middle Ages

tourist places in Paris 5



Some of them are part of famous places in Paris. Some of them are Paris best-kept secrets. This is our personal list of unusual things to see in Paris 5th Arrondissement to enjoy Paris Like a Local.

Grand Nef at Collège des Bernardins – perfect and beautiful Medieval Architecture

  Beautiful rood screen at S. Etienne du Mont Church– the sole surviving example in Paris

Last remains  of Philippe Auguste’s walls – rue Clovis, rue Descartes, rue du Cardinal-Lemoine, rue Thouin, rue de l’Estrapade, rue Jean Lartigue

Quirky Fountain Georges Cuvier – the sculpture in honor of the “father of paleontology” is very well accompanied here!

The oldest street sign in Paris – at 42 rue Galande, with S. Etienne and two oarsmen on a boat (XIVth century?)

Jardin des Plantes’ greenhouses – beautiful iron architecture (XVIIIth century)

The oldest tree in Paris – at Square Vivienne, it survives more or less since 1602

Quirky Buffon’s band-stand – at Jardin des Plantes and one of the first iron buildings in the world, it had a noon mark on its top



On our Paris Arrondissement Guides, we like to encourage people to beat the crowds and explore Paris beyond its main sights. Despite being one of the most touristy Paris arrondissements we like to visit the Latin Quarter from time to time, especially when the weather is nice. We like to see Jardin des Plantes through the seasons or a stroll around Rue Mouffetard and Place de la Contrescarpe to enjoy its lively atmosphere (touristy, YES, but also loved by locals). In addition, our favorite shops for hiking and traveling equipment are located between Boulevard S. Germain and rue des Ecoles so the Latin Quarter is a kind of paradise for us. This is our personal list of unique things to do in Paris 5 to enjoy Paris like a local.

Have a blast among dinosaurs and other beasts  – at Grande Galerie de l’Evolution

Visit les Thermes de Lutece (Lutetia’s Roman Baths) – inside the fantastic Cluny Museum

Play pétanque with the locals – at Arènes de Lutèce

Swim some laps in beautiful Pontoise swimming pool  – at 19 rue de Pontoise, it is also a Historical Monument (Art Déco)

Enjoy a book in a quiet and medieval atmosphere – at Jardin Médiéval, next to Cluny Museum

Lose the sense of time at Paris Jazz Corner – at 5 rue de Navarre, it has a large collection of LPs, CDs, and books about Jazz

Learn the history of S. Médard Church – at 141 rue Mouffetard, where “by order of the King, God is forbidden to work miracles in this place”

Beautiful Musée Curie – visit Marie Curie’s office and lab and learn about the discovery of radium and polonium

Take a regenerative hammam & massage plus a mint tea – at exotic Mosquée de Paris : -)

Enjoy Rue de Mouffetard’s village atmosphere – once Hemingway’s HQ and always a moveable feast

Sunset with a view – at Institut du Monde Arabe’s rooftop

A cheeky night at Paradis Latin – locals’ favorite Cabaret in Paris

swimming pool picture courtesy of  @guide-piscine



Foodies will love colorful rue de Mouffetard, with endless delicacies shops, street food, and little bistros.

Check our proposals (by Paris arrondissements) on Yummy Paris. Affordable restaurants in Paris 5 but also Paris bistros or Paris street food. This is a living page which we are continuously “feeding” with our Parisian friends’ suggestions. Come back to Yummy Paris from time to time to read the newest additions.



On “Where to Stay in Paris” section we like to propose our top options in each price bracket (budget hotels in Paris, mid-range hotels in Paris and luxury hotels in Paris) for a specific district of Paris. Staying in the Latin Quarter, Paris is not that expensive compared to other districts around. These are our best hotels in Latin Quarter Paris, hope you will like them! You can see on this link all the hotel options for Paris 5

NB: The same hotel may be in two different price brackets depending on the kind of room you choose.


Luxury hotels in Paris 5th arrondissement


Hotel La Lanterne has an excellent location (between Notre Dame and Luxembourg Gardens), attractive rooms and some great facilities like spa, pool or a cute private garden. Perfect to finish your exploring days in a more relaxing way.

Click here for the Latest Prices

Mid range hotels in Paris 5th arrondissement


Close to Luxembourg Gardens, we find its design pretty cool, with all those eyes looking at you, lol. But of course, it is not all about design: its French Brasserie, modern facilities and cool staff complete the pack.

Click here for the Latest Prices

budget hotels in Paris 5th arrondissement


Great location, nice (Haussmannian) architecture and atmosphere. Hotel Minerve Paris proposes modern rooms individually decorated and a good breakfast to kick off your exploring day. This is a convenient hotel at a reasonable price

Click here for the Latest Prices


Hotels are still the most popular option to rest your head at the end of the day but if you dream of living the Paris lifestyle, then an apartment is the best way to get a feel for the local atmosphere. We are talking about enjoying your Parisian holiday in the comfort of your own Paris furnished apartment, regardless of the length of your stay.

Read our full review or click here to find your Home Away Home in Paris 5




READ MORE –  Paris 4 Like a Local: where to eat, play & stay in Ile de la Cité and le Marais

READ MORE –  Paris 6 Like a Local: where to eat, play & stay in Saint Germain and Luxembourg


Click here to read other Paris Arrondissement Guides

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Paris 5 Like a Local, Latin Quarter and Sorbonne, Paris Districts, Lutetia, 5th Arrondissement of Paris, Paris Travel Inspiration, Paris Bucket List, Paris City Guides, Paris Arrondissement Guide #parislikealocal #parisianer #paris


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  • Lara Dunning
    08/27/2017 at 2:50 am

    I’m always up for traveling tips from locals and your posts always push Paris further up my list. I would definitely want to see Marie Curie’s office and see the oldest street sign in Paris!

    • WorldInParis
      09/01/2017 at 2:39 pm

      Marie Curie Museum is small but very pretty. Also, it was great to know more about one of the biggest discoveries of the last centuries and about the person who made it possible . .

  • Travelling Dany
    08/26/2017 at 1:51 pm

    I had no idea that the 5th Arrondissement was so packed with things to see and do! Knowing ourselves, I bet we’d love all the Medieval things, from the Grand Nef to the Cluny Museum!

    • WorldInParis
      09/01/2017 at 2:40 pm

      I am sure you would like to see them, Dany. However coming from the south of Italy the roman baths may look tiny for you 😉

  • Indrani
    08/16/2017 at 6:36 am

    Wow this is like a softcopy of encyclopedia on Paris!
    Appreciate the efforts you have put to compile all of it in one place.

    • WorldInParis
      08/16/2017 at 10:53 am

      Thank you Indrani! Glad that you liked it . .

  • Cai Dominguez
    08/15/2017 at 5:10 pm

    This is very helpful guide in Paris. I’ll try to r ad the previous post regarding this one. I can’t wait to visit your beautiful city 🙂

  • Megan Jerrard
    08/15/2017 at 12:48 pm

    Thanks for the tips on how to experience Paris 5 while somewhat avoiding as much of the tourism as possible. I had no idea that the 5th Arrondissement is one of the oldest Paris districts – though enjoying a book in a quiet and medieval atmosphere sounds wonderful, so I think I’ll look for Jardin Médiéval on my next trip – thanks for the tip!

    • WorldInParis
      08/16/2017 at 10:54 am

      Thanks to you for your nice comment. If you can swim I suggest you to add a visit to Pontoise swimming pool after the reading, it is very cool!

  • Rhonda Albom
    08/15/2017 at 12:26 pm

    We visited Paris back in 2012 and unfortunately, due to bad circumstances, it wasn’t one of our favourite places. However, I would love to give it another go in the future and try out some of the locations you suggested.

    • WorldInParis
      08/16/2017 at 10:55 am

      Too bad that you could not enjoy Paris, Rhonda. Hope you will give the city another chance in the future 🙂

  • Punita Malhotra
    08/14/2017 at 8:24 am

    Your blog is the Bible of Paris. Love every single post. Even a couple of months in the city are not enough to explore everything you have listed on your blog.

    • WorldInParis
      08/14/2017 at 2:24 pm

      Wow Punita thanks for your kind comment! Well, NO, two months are never enough to discover Paris: I live in Paris and still have a long list of posts to propose our readers . . And I go on exploring . . .

  • Damien McGuigan
    08/13/2017 at 12:55 pm

    I’ve been to Paris a couple of times and never really got to explore the south side of the city yet. I must do that on my next trip!

    • WorldInParis
      08/16/2017 at 10:57 am

      Euh, yes, both sides of the river are interesting! Here we will be exploring the left bank for a while . . . 😉

  • Mimi's Migration
    08/13/2017 at 12:50 pm

    I was born in Paris and used to live there, so I can truly say that your recommendations are great! I love the 5ème Arrondissement, probably because of that lively feel to it. You’re right, there is so much to do there!

    • WorldInParis
      08/13/2017 at 1:31 pm

      Thanks Mimi for your comment and nice words! A Parisian telling us that our recommendations are great means a lot to us! 🙂 🙂

  • Christine | The Traveloguer
    08/13/2017 at 12:21 pm

    This is a really great guide to Paris’ Latin Quarter. There is so much to see and do in Paris! I’d love to check out Rue de Mouffetard and the Pontoise pool!

    • WorldInParis
      08/14/2017 at 2:25 pm

      The Pontoise pool is open until late at night, it is pretty cool! And I am sure you will love rue Mouffetard 🙂

  • Christine | TTP
    08/13/2017 at 11:41 am

    Love this guide! Whenever I travel i always ask for a local recommendation. They always know the best! 😉

  • Danik
    08/13/2017 at 11:16 am

    I have to admit, the 5th arr is the least explored area for me and I dont really know the Latin Quarter (even though I was staying nearby recently in this area). Good list to follow and hopefully I be back in Paris very very soon 🙂

    • WorldInParis
      08/16/2017 at 6:41 pm

      What a pity, there are some cool things to do in Paris 5 . . . Next time! 🙂

  • Karla
    08/13/2017 at 10:21 am

    I have seen a lot of Paris guides but I love that you included the less known and quirky sites of it. This will definitely be on my list.

    • WorldInParis
      08/13/2017 at 10:23 am

      Thanks Karla! 🙂