DISTRICTS OF PARIS GUIDES: 5th ARRONDISSEMENT OF PARIS
The 5th Arrondissement of Paris is one of the oldest Arrondissements of Paris. It is in Paris 5th Arrondissement where the Roman city Lutetia (IC AD) developed along its Cardo Maximus, the present Rue Saint Jacques (the oldest street in Paris). Like all the Roman cities, Lutetia had a forum (current Rue Soufflot), a couple of Roman baths (Les Thermes de Lutèce) and even an amphitheater known today as Arenes de Lutèce. You probably know about France’s km 0, in the 1st Arrondissement of Paris, located in front of Notre Dame. Lutetia ‘s km 0 was somewhere between 172 – 174 rue Saint Jacques.
Did 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 topography was the Bievre River. La Bievre crossed current Paris 13 and Paris 5, flowing around Saint Geneviève 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 the Bièvre river.
A nice introduction to Paris
Paris 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 the Latin Quarter we find the first universities in the city (e.g 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 the 5th Arrondissement of Paris is the students and 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, we know how to enjoy Paris 5 far from the crowds most of the time. Check out the list of our proposals to enjoy Paris Like a Local. This time with an interesting historical background behind.
FAMOUS PLACES IN PARIS, THE LATIN QUARTER
These are the top tourist attractions in Paris 5 and no article talking about the fifth arrondissement would be complete without these famous places in Paris. If this is your first trip to Paris you will like to visit some of them, they are very touristy but beautiful!
Arenes de Lutèce – Lutetia ‘s Roman amphitheater
The Pantheon inside – with the Foucault Pendulum
Institut du Monde Arabe – contemporary architecture and a cool rooftop
Cluny Museum – learn about the Middle Ages in this fantastic museum
Hemingway’s Paris – Place de la Contrescarpe, Rue de Mouffetard and other cool sites in Paris 5
UNIQUE THINGS TO SEE IN THE FIFTH ARRONDISSEMENT
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 – 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
UNUSUAL THINGS TO DO IN PARIS 5TH ARRONDISSEMENT
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 good. 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 unusual 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 the awesome Roman Paris Underground – inside the fantastic Cluny Museum
Play pétanque with the locals – at Arenes de Lutèce
Swim some laps in the beautiful Pontoise swimming pool – classed 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 – with a huge collection of LPs, CDs, and books about Jazz
Learn the history of S. Médard Church – 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 the exotic Grande Mosquée de Paris
swimming pool picture courtesy of @guide-piscine
BEST LOCAL RESTAURANTS IN PARIS 5
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. Don’t you know where to eat in Paris 5? Some of the best local restaurants in Paris 5, proposing good French cuisine, includes:
- La Truffière – 4, rue Blainville 75005 Paris. Creative French cuisine, great for family meals
- Au Port du Salut – 163 Rue Saint-Jacques 75005 Paris. The 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.
WHERE TO STAY IN PARIS 5
On “Where to Stay in Paris” section we like to help you plan your trip to Paris by proposing some great 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 Paris the Latin Quarter 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
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 cute private garden. Perfect to finish your exploring days in a more relaxing way.
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
This recently renovated hotel is at a 5-minute walk to Luxembourg Gardens and the Panthéon. Rooms are spacious, nicely decorated, and feature a big and comfortable bed. Hotel André Latin is a good value for your money.
SHORT TERM RENTAL PARIS
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.
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
Last remains of Philippe Auguste’s walls: different locations at rue Clovis, rue Descartes, rue du Cardinal-Lemoine, rue Thouin, rue de l’Estrapade, rue Jean Lartigue
Fountain Georges Cuvier: 20 Rue Cuvier, 75005 Paris
The oldest street sign in Paris: 42 rue Galande, 75005 Paris
Jardin des Plantes’ greenhouses: 20 Rue Cuvier, 75005 Paris
The oldest tree in Paris: Square Vivienne, 75005 Paris
Buffon’s band-stand: inside the Jardin des Plantes, on a small hill
Grande Galerie de l’Evolution: 36 Rue Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire, 75005 Paris
Cluny Museum: 28 Rue du Sommerard, 75005 Paris
Arenes de Lutèce: 49 Rue Monge, 75005 Paris
Pontoise Swimming Pool: 19 Rue de Pontoise, 75005 Paris
Medieval Garden: 6 Place Paul Painlevé, 75005 Paris
Paris Jazz Corner: 5 Rue de Navarre, 75005 Paris
S. Médard Church: 39-41 Rue Daubenton, 75005 Paris
Musée Curie: 1 Rue Pierre et Marie Curie, 75005 Paris
Grande Mosquée de Paris: 2bis Place du Puits de l’Ermite, 75005 Paris
Paradis Latin: 28 Rue du Cardinal Lemoine, 75005 Paris
WANT TO EXPLORE BEYOND PARIS 5?
- Paris 4 Like a Local: where to eat, play & stay in Ile de la Cité and le Marais
- Paris 6 Like a Local: where to eat, play & stay in Saint Germain and Luxembourg
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