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Arrondissements of Paris Paris Like a Local

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


Paris arrondissement map


After exploring Paris 1, Paris 2, Paris 3 and Paris 4 during the last months, finally we cross the Seine River to the left bank, yay!

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

Apart from Lutecia ‘s Roman layout of streets and main public spaces, another thing that defined Paris 5’s topography was the Bièvre river. Bièvre river 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 this river.

The Latin Quarter and its students 

The 5th arrondissement is also called the Latin Quarter. The name comes from Lutecia ‘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 5 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 5 Like a Local. This time there is a lot of history behind . .



No surprises here: you can find all these places on all the guidebooks about Paris so no article talking about this Paris arrondissement would be complete without these Paris tourist places. If you are visiting Paris for the first time, you will like to visit some of them. They are very touristy but beautiful !

Arènes de Lutèce ( Lutecia ‘s Roman amphitheater)

Le Panthéon

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 tourist sights, some of them are hidden gems. This is our personal list of best things to see in Paris 5th arrondissement if you want to know Paris 5 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



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. These are in our opinion the best things to do in Paris 5 like a local.

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

Visit Lutecia’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 an Historical Monument (Art Déco)

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

Loose 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

swimming pool picture courtesy of  @guide-piscine



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

Check our proposals of best places to eat in Paris (by Paris arrondissement) on Yummy Paris . This is a living page which we are continuously “feeding” with our Parisian friends’ suggestions so we recommend you to come back from time to time to check the newest additions.



On “Where to Stay in Paris” section we like to propose our top options in each price bracket for a specific Paris arrondissement. These are our picks for Paris 5th Arrondissement, hope you will like them! You can also click on the following link to check 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.

Check the hotel’s latest offers

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.

Check the hotel’s latest offers

budget hotels in Paris 5th arrondissement


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

Check the hotel’s latest offers





Petanque Kit

73 mm Petanque Set

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway (EN)

A Moveable Feast (EN)

Vintage Camera Polaroid

Vintage Camera Polaroid

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  • Reply
    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!

    • Reply
      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 . .

  • Reply
    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!

    • Reply
      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 😉

  • Reply
    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.

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

      Thank you Indrani! Glad that you liked it . .

  • Reply
    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 🙂

  • Reply
    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!

    • Reply
      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!

  • Reply
    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.

    • Reply
      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 🙂

  • Reply
    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.

    • Reply
      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 . . .

  • Reply
    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!

    • Reply
      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 . . . 😉

  • Reply
    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!

    • Reply
      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! 🙂 🙂

  • Reply
    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!

    • Reply
      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 🙂

  • Reply
    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! 😉

  • Reply
    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 🙂

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

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

  • Reply
    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.

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

      Thanks Karla! 🙂

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