Introducing the 5th Arrondissement of Paris
The 5th Arrondissement of Paris is one of the oldest Arrondissements of Paris. It is in Paris 5 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 with the main public and religious buildings (current rue Soufflot), a couple of Roman baths (Les Thermes de Lutèce), and even an amphitheater for different kinds of shows known today as the Arènes de Lutèce.
You probably know about France’s km 0, located in front of Notre Dame in the 4th Arrondissement. Lutetia ‘s km 0 was somewhere between 172 – 174 rue Saint Jacques.
Did you know? Rue Saint Jacques 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.
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 current Paris 13 and Paris 5, flowing around Saint Geneviève mountain to finally reach the Seine River not far from the 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 the Bièvre River.
Without any further ado, let’s head to Paris 5 to explore this lively district of Paris.
The Latin Quarter and its Student Life
The Fifth Arrondissement of Paris is divided into 4 neighborhoods: Quartier de la Sorbonne, Quartier Saint-Victor, Quartier du Jardin des Plantes and Quartier de Val-de-Grace.
The fifth arrondissement is also called the Latin Quarter. The name comes from Lutetia ‘s former inhabitants (Romans=Latins) 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 the Latin Quarter, we find the first universities in the city (e.g La Sorbonne), many beautiful libraries, and many medieval churches and other buildings that 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 at rue Gay-Lussac.
Today the 5th Arrondissement of Paris is the students and the intellectuals’ neighborhood but it is also one of the most touristy Paris neighborhoods. However, there is much more than Shakespeare & Co, or rue de la Harpe, believe us!
As locals in Paris, we know how to enjoy Paris 5, most of the time far from the crowds. Below, the list of top tourist sights in Paris 5th Arrondissement but also some unique things to do and the best restaurants to enjoy good local food.
Top Sights in Paris 5th Arrondissement
1- Arenes de Lutèce – Lutetia ‘s Roman amphitheater is the oldest monument built in Paris, during the 1st century AD.
2- The Panthéon – Visit this former church, today a temple dedicated to the Grands Hommes of France. Inside, hanging from the cupola, you can also see the famous Foucault’s Pendulum. If it is open, climb up to the cupola for one of the best views of Paris.
3- Jardin des Plantes – this is the main botanical garden in France, and also headquarters of the National Museum of Natural History. Don’t miss the beautiful iron architecture of the greenhouses (18th century) featuring exotic plants and trees all year round. At Jardin des Plantes you will also find one of the most beautiful cherry trees in Paris.
4- Cluny Museum – learn about the Middle Ages in Paris and France in this fantastic museum recently renovated. Visitors can also see one of the two Roman baths in Paris and other remains.
5- Hemingway’s Paris – Hemingway’s first apartment in Paris was at rue du Cardinal Lemoine. Follow Hemingway’s steps in the Paris of the Roaring Twenties and visit the writer’s favorite places to work or hang around with his friends.
Unique Things to Do in the 5th Arrondissement Paris
In 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 districts of Paris we like to visit the Latin Quarter from time to time, especially when the weather is good.
We like to see the Jardin des Plantes through the seasons or a stroll around rue Mouffetard and place de la Contrescarpe to enjoy its bars, terraces, and festive atmosphere.
Below, the list of unique things to do in the 5th District of Paris we believe you shouldn’t miss:
6- Grand Nef at Collège des Bernardins. This Cistercian college was built in the 13th century to accommodate the Cistercian monks who moved from the monasteries to the city to pursue their studies at the University of Paris.
Most of the college was destroyed during the French Revolution. The perfect and beautiful Medieval Architecture of the main nave offers a beautiful perspective.
7- The oldest street sign in Paris. This stone plaque at rue Galande, sculpted in the 14th century, shows S. Julien l’Hospitalier and two oarsmen on a boat. Saint Julien was long regarded as the saint patron of travelers, and many innkeepers in the Middle Ages considered it wise to place their establishment under his protection.
Rue Galande was an old Roman road that led to Lyon and Rome so many people believe this street sign belonged to an inn for travelers.
8- The beautiful rood screen at S. Etienne du Mont Church. Located on the Montagne de Sainte Geneviève, near the Panthéon, this beautiful church hosts the sole surviving rood screen in Paris (16th century) as well as the shrine containing the relics of St. Genevieve until 1793 (when they were thrown in the sewer).
9- The oldest tree in Paris. The Robinia pseudoacacia of Square René Viviani, commonly known as a locust tree, is believed to have been planted in 1601!
10- Musée Curie. This is a free museum where visitors can learn about the history of the discovery of radioactivity by Pierre and Marie Curie and its first medical applications with radiotherapy. Especially lovely are Marie Curie‘s small office and a private laboratory, where she spent most of her time.
11- Have a blast among dinosaurs and other beasts. The Grande Galerie de l’Evolution, inside the Jardin des Plantes, is the perfect museum for families. Get ready to see 7.000 incredibly lifelike specimens and learn everything about their life.
12- Swim some laps in the beautiful Pontoise swimming pool. Built in 1933, the swimming pool on rue de Pontoise has retained its art deco architecture and is a listed historical building. The pool is overlooked by rows of open walkways with old-fashioned cabins for private hire. This is the perfect opportunity to exercise or relax in a beautiful atmosphere until 11.45 pm from Monday to Friday.
Best Restaurants in the 5th Arrondissement Paris
Foodies in Paris will love colorful rue de Mouffetard, with endless delicacies shops, great cheap eats, (this is a student area), and little Parisian bistros. There are also many Greek restaurants proposing excellent Greek food (La Crète is our favorite).
Don’t you know where to find the best restaurants in the 5th Arrondissement? Here, some of our favorite restaurants in Paris 5 proposing good French cuisine.
» La Truffière – 4, rue Blainville 75005 Paris. Expect to find creative French cuisine in a place great for family meals.
» Au Port du Salut – 163 rue Saint-Jacques 75005 Paris. This restaurant proposes a typical Parisian atmosphere, preserving the charms of yesterday, and with a generous and tasty cuisine.
» L’Epoque – 81, rue du Cardinal Lemoine 75005 Paris. L’Epoque proposes a generous bistro cuisine made with traditional recipes.
» La Colette – 17, rue Laplace 75005 Paris. This gastronomic restaurant proposes a tasty local cuisine respectful with the Planet Earth. It is not a vegetarian restaurant but they also have yummy vegetarian and gluten-free dishes.
Where to Stay in Paris, the Latin Quarter
Staying in Paris the Latin Quarter is not that expensive compared to other districts around plus its central location means you are never far from the main tourist sights of Paris.
Booking.com is the best site for booking hotels in Paris. They have good rates and a huge selection of hotels of all kinds plus it is possible to cancel for free if in the end you cannot make it to Paris.Booking.com
HOTEL LA LANTERNE; Paris 5, $$$$
Hotel La Lanterne has an excellent location (between Notre Dame and Luxembourg Gardens), attractive rooms, and some great facilities like a spa, pool, or a private garden. Perfect to finish your exploring days in a more relaxing way.
OBSERVATOIRE LUXEMBOURG: Paris 5, $$$
Located close to Luxembourg Gardens, we find its design pretty cool. But of course, it is not all about decoration: the hotel’s comfortable rooms, French Brasserie, modern facilities, and cool staff are the perfect combination for a great stay in Paris.
HOTEL ANDRE LATIN: Paris 5, $$
This recently renovated hotel is at a 5-minute walk to Luxembourg Gardens and the Panthéon. The rooms are spacious, nicely decorated, and feature a big and comfortable bed. Hotel André Latin is a good value for your money.
SHORT TERM RENTALS IN PARIS 5
Hotels are still the most popular option in Paris but if you dream of living the Parisian lifestyle, then an apartment is the best way to get a feel for the local atmosphere. Enjoy Paris in the comfort of your own Paris furnished apartment, regardless of the length of your stay.
Paris Fifth Arrondissement Directory
Grand Nef at Collège des Bernardins: 20 rue de Poissy, 75005 Paris
S. Etienne du Mont Church: place Sainte-Geneviève, 75005 Paris
The oldest street sign in Paris: 42 rue Galande, 75005 Paris
Jardin des Plantes: 20 rue Cuvier, 75005 Paris
The oldest tree in Paris: square Vivienne, 75005 Paris
Grande Galerie de l’Evolution: 36 rue Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire, 75005 Paris
Cluny Museum: 28 rue du Sommerard, 75005 Paris
Musée Curie: 1 rue Pierre et Marie Curie, 75005 Paris
Arènes de Lutèce: 49 rue Monge, 75005 Paris
Pontoise Swimming Pool: 19 rue de Pontoise, 75005 Paris
Paradis Latin: 28 rue du Cardinal Lemoine, 75005 Paris. Book your tickets here
Want to Explore Beyond Paris 5?
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