Paris/5th arrondissement

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The 5th Arrondissement of Paris is one of the best known of the city's central districts, located on the Left Bank (Rive Gauche) of the river Seine. Also commonly known as the "Latin Quarter" (le quartier Latin) because the first great Parisian university, the Sorbonne, was founded (and can be still be found) here and Latin was the language the medieval period students used once to speak. The 5th was also the core of ancient Gallo-Roman Paris, as revealed in a number of otherwise rare archaeological remains that can be seen within the district.

The area still has a significant student presence, with several universities and schools of higher education being located in the area. However, due to gentrification, most student and faculty have been forced to more affordable areas such as the 13th.

Get in[edit]

The Panthéon crowns the hill at the center of Paris' 5th arrondissement

By Métro[edit]

Line 7 connects the 5th with the 1st, 4th, and 13th, stopping at Jussieu, Monge and Censier/Daubenton.

Line 10 cuts east-west across the northern and most touristed part of the arrondissement stopping at Cluny/la Sorbonne, Maubert/Mutualité, Cardinal Lemoine, and Jussieu with terminus just east of the 5th's border with the 13th at Gare d'Austerlitz.

The RER-B coming all the way from Airport Charles de Gaulle stops at St. Michel and Luxembourg.

By bus[edit]

27, 87, 86, 24, 21, 47, 87, 84

Many tourists rely on the subway system to get around. However, while you are there to visit, why not see the city from the bus? Unlike other big cities, the buses in Paris are a first class ride for the same price. They are very clean and usually arrive every 7-10 minutes. The system is very easy to understand (there are big maps and the lines are color coded) and you can ask anyone on the bus to tell you where you should stop. Buses typically go faster than other cars too because they benefit from special bus lanes on all main avenues and boulevards throughout the city.

See[edit]

Map of the 5th Arrondissement

Landmarks[edit]

  • Arenes de Lutece47, rue Monge et rue de Navarre (Métro: Place Monge, Jussieu, Cardinal Lemoine). 08ː00-17ː30 (winter), 08ː00-22ː00 (summer). An ancient Roman theater, the only surviving above-ground ruins of the Gallo-Roman era in Paris (ancient Lutetia, French Lutèce) apart from the nearby Thermes de Cluny. The theatre could hold approximately 15,000 spectators and measures some 132 m x 100 m. Built sometime in the 2nd century CE, the location of the actor's dressing room, the platform of the stage, and lapidary remains can still be seen. The remains were rediscovered in 1869, when new streets were being built. An excavation was subsequently ordered in 1883. The theatre has been preserved as a quiet archaeological park removed from the bustle of Parisian streets. Free.
  • Jardin des Plantes. The Paris Botanical Garden, founded as the royal medicinal garden in 1626 by King Louis XIII's doctor, contains over 10,000 species. The grounds also include a small zoo known as La Ménagerie, and the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, which includes the recently renovated Grande Galerie de l'Evolution (where you can see thousands of naturalized animals from all over the world) and the 'Galerie de paléontologie et d'anatomie comparée' (same thing, but with skeletons).
  • PanthéonPlace du Panthéon ('Métro Cardinal Lemoine),  +33 1 43 54 34 51. Daily, 10ː00-20ː00. Originally conceived by Louis XV as a grand neo-classical church honouring St. Geneviève, the patron saint of Paris. After the Revolution, the building was converted into a mausoleum for the great philosophers, military, artists, scientists, and heroes of the French Republic. Occupants of the crypt include Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Zola, the Curies, and, most recently, Alexandre Dumas (reinterred here in 2002). The view from the dome (206 steps) is marvellous. Check tour departure times at the information desk. A fascinating reconstruction of Foucault's pendulum also hangs within the Panthéon. €7.50 (€4.50 reduced rate, museum card accepted, free for EU-people under 26 years)..
The Sorbonne University

Museums and Galleries[edit]

  • Musée Curie11, rue Pierre et Marie Curie (Métro: Cardinal Lemoine (Line 10), Place Monge (Line 7), RER-B: Luxembourg),  +33 1 42 34 67 49. M-F, 13ː30-17ː00 except bank holidays and during Aug. This charming scientific museum preserves the offices and laboratories of Pierre and Marie Curie, pioneers in the discovery of radioactivity. Their instruments, equipment, and furniture is arranged as it was during their critically important research. Guided tours in English available. free.
  • Musée du Moyen Age6, place Paul Painlevé (Métro Cluny),  +33 1 53 73 78 16. Daily, 09:15-17:15. Housed in a 15th century abbey, alongside 1st century Gallo-Roman baths, the museum has an extensive collection of medieval art and artifacts. Highlights include the medieval "Lady and the Unicorn" tapestries, a papal golden rose, and the original heads from the facade of Notre Dame. €7.50 (€5.50 reduced rate, free under 18, museum card accepted).

Religious buildings[edit]

  • Eglise Saint-Étienne-du-Montpl Ste Geneviève. St. Geneviève was responsible for saving Paris from the Huns in 451 and her shrine in the church has been a popular place of pilgrimage ever since. The church as it stands dates from between 1492 and 1626 and is a mix of Gothic and Renaissance architectural styles. A unique feature is the Renaissance rood screen, the sole survivor in the city.
  • Eglise Saint-Julien-le-Pauvrerue Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre (Métro: Cluny-Sorbonne / Saint-Michel).
  • Eglise Saint-Médardrue Mouffetard.
  • Eglise Saint Nicolas du Chardonnet23, rue des Bernardins. A controversial church serving as de facto headquarters of the arch-traditionalist Society of Saint Pius X, who occupied the church in 1977 and have ignored subsequent eviction orders.
  • Grande Mosquée de Paris2 bis, place du puits de l'Ermite +33 1 45 35 97 33. Established in 1926, it was meant to show appreciation for Muslim help in fighting the Germans. The café serves excellent mint tea and North African food.

Do[edit]

The 5th arrondissement is the perfect place to wander and people watch. If you are brave and have any French skills, engage a student in conversation. Many, if addressed in French, will be more than happy to talk about politics and social issues in English.

Buy[edit]

The rue Mouffetard hosts an ongoing open air market

The lower end of rue Mouffetard as it runs away from the Panthéon hosts an ongoing fruit and vegetable market, and is lined with food and wine shops of all kinds.

  •    l'Epée de Bois12, rue de l'Epée de Bois (Métro: Pl. Monge),  +33 1 43 31 50 18. M, 13:30-19:30; Tu-Sa, 10:30-19:30; Su, 11:00-13:30. The name of the store and the street it's on both translate to the "wooden sword", and you find those here along with any number of wooden toys for children ages 1 to 10. They also have books and games.
  •    La Fontaine aux Vins107 rue Mouffetard (Métro: Censier Daubenton),  +33 1 43 31 41 03fax: +33 1 45 34 51 47. One of several wine shops along the lower part of the street. The wines are of high quality, but barely more pricey than the ones you'll find in the grocery store. They offer tastings outside on the street, and delivery if you buy a case. Prices start at around €4 per bottle which is around what you'll pay for a glass in a bar.
  •    Gepetto & Vélos46, rue Daubenton (Métro: Censier Daubenton),  +33 1 43 37 16 17. OK, so if you are just staying for a day or two it makes no sense whatever to buy a bike, but if you are going to be around for a while having your own might just feel better than renting one from the RATP. If so, you could do a lot worse than Gepetto, where you'll find a range of real bikes rather than the usual cheap MTB you'd see at a sporting goods store. Prices start at around €100 for a sturdy used, 3-speed city bike.
  •    Latin Quarter Curios Photo TourFountain St Michel (Metro St. Michel),  +33 1 45 51 53 80. 4. From humble church to towering cathedral, Notre Dame is the world-famous jewel in the crown of the Ile de la Cite, the original Paris before the city outgrew its island boundaries. This whole area is steeped in history and secrets just waiting to be discovered. Tour will enter the moving and visually stunning monument to the deportation, roam the banks of the river and the twisting backstreets, and investigate the legendary Latin Quarter with cameras on an "adventure thru the lens". €125.
  •    Shakespeare and Co.37, rue de la Bûcherie. Daily, 12ː00-24ː00. Probably one of the most eccentric bookstores you will ever visit, this must-see was established in 1951 by George Whitman. Three rambling floors literally crammed with books, both new and (mainly) second-hand. The bedding shoved amid the shelves is for the (largely American) expats (called tumbleweeds) who doss down here at night. It is the sister store to City Lights in San Francisco. Cash only.

Eat[edit]

This page uses the following price ranges for dinner typical set menu (starter+main+dessert whenever available):
Budget below €15
Mid-range €15-25
Splurge over €25

A lot of travellers arriving in the 5th from across the river are lured into the restaurants and fast-food outlets between rue St Jacques and boulevard St Michel (in Rue de la Huchette, rue Saint-Séverin). This area may be handy for a quick snack (say, a "Greek sandwich" in a pita), but the quality of restaurants there is not so good - beware especially of restaurants advertising typical French specialties. A similar phenomenon occurs around rue Mouffetard, where many students from the Jussieu Campus and the École normale supérieure have snacks; most of the "French" restaurants are overpriced tourist traps.

Budget[edit]

  • Le Grenier de Notre Dame18, rue de la Bûcherie (Métro: St. Michel),  +33 1 43 29 98 29. A vegetarian restaurant with a great selection including a number of vegan items, the Grenier is, as the name suggests, just around the corner from the cathedral. The English-speaking staff is super friendly. Dinners start at €12.
  • Jardin des Pâtes4, rue Lacépède (Métro: Monge),  +33 1 43 31 50 71. Daily, 12ː00-14:30 and 19ː00-23ː00. The range of pasta dishes is just fantastic at this cute little restaurant tucked away near the Jardin des Plantes. Although some meat dishes are served there is a huge range of choice for vegetarians as well. Menus around €12.

Mid-range[edit]

  • Chez Ernest31, rue de la Parcheminerie (Métro Cluny-Sorbonne). Very nice little restaurant in a small side-street. Typical and less typical French food. Complete dinner, including beverages, for €25.
  • Les Cinq Saveurs d'Anada72, rue du cardinal Lemoine +33 1 43 29 58 54. Macrobiotic and vegetarian specialties, cooked mainly in the French tradition but with some fun additions from around the world. Lunch menu:€12 or €16; dinner plates for €14-15.
  • Kootchi40, rue du Cardinal Lemoine (Métro Cardinal Lemoine),  +33 1 44 07 20 56. M-Sa, 12ː00-14:30, 19ː00-22:30. Afghan cuisine, small and cosy, food is not too spicy, good value for money. Lunch menu: €9.20 or €12.20, dinner menu €15.50.
  •    Le Petit Prince de Paris12, rue de Lanneau (Métro 10 Maubert-Mutualité, close to Pantheon),  +33 1 43 54 77 26. Evenings, 19:30-24ː00 (to 00:30 F-Sa). A notably Parisian restaurant experience, but with friendly and warm service. Traditional French food (try the duck with feathers) and deliciously complicated sauces. Relaxed and uncrowded, but reserve in the morning for a weekend night. Reasonable wine selection. Set menu (starter+main) €16-23; extra €6 for dessert.
  • Le Volcan10, rue Thouin (Near rue Descartes),  +33 1 46 33 38 33. Tu-Su, 12ː00-23ː00. Serves delicious traditional French dishes in a welcoming environment. Excellent service. The set meals are very varied and represent superb value. €25 per person without wine.

Splurge[edit]

  • Bibimpap32, boul de l'Hôpital (Métro Gare d'Austerlitz),  +33 1 43312742. Korean restaurant. Set menu €25-40.
  • Coco de Mer34, boul St Marcel (Métro St Marcel),  +33 1 47070664. Closed M lunch, Su, 2 weeks in Aug. Specialities from the Seychelles. Set menu €30, a la carte from €28-36.
  • Le Petit Pontoise9, rue de Pontoise (Parallel with the separation of lle de la Cite and lle de la Saint-Louis),  +33 1 43 29 25 20. Open lunch and dinner. Nice restaurant with a homey feel, on a quiet street. Popular enough to have an "also" section next door. Expatriate Americans mingle with native Parisians and a few tourists. The food is of the local French standard (i.e., high), but does include vegetables, which many other non-tourist restaurants do not. The balance and spicing of the sauces is the main draw. The pig's cheeks stew is notably delicious, and one of the cheaper items to boot! Main courses for €18-28, starters and desserts €7-11, wine €20+.
  • La Tour d'Argent15-17, quai de la Tournelle (Métro Cardinal Lemoine or St Paul),  +33 1 43 54 23 31. For those with fat wallets la Tour d'Argent is a must-do. One of the oldest restaurants in Paris, on the Seine, it is famous for its duck recipes.

Drink[edit]

  • The Bombardierplace du Panthéon (Métro: Maubert/Mutualité). Great pub in a prime location right in front of beautiful St-Etienne-du-Mont church and the Panthéon. One of the few pubs in Paris where you can get cask ales, and they also make cocktails. Food served at lunchtime (good pub food, e.g., bangers & mash, English breakfasts, fish & chips, etc.). Also a great place to watch sporting events like English Premier League and the Six-Nations tournament as the pub draws a mixed crowd of French and English regulars with expats and tourists thrown into the mix.
  • Café Universel267, rue Saint Jaques (Métro: Luxembourg),  +33 1 43 25 74 20. This mostly anglophone joint presents jazz artists from around the globe on its tiny stage. There's never a cover, and the atmosphere is always fantastic with the huge collection of postcards, etc., on the stage wall, and the musical statue of liberty in the front. Do buy a CD from the artist or toss a couple of Euro into the hat.
  • The Fifth Bar62, rue Mouffetard (Métro: Place Monge). Named for the arrondissement, or maybe a measure of whiskey, this little hole-in-the-wall caters to a mixed anglophone expatriate crowd, with a mix of local students and (in tourist season) backpackers. Tuesdays and Thursdays are student nights with happy-hour prices all night with a student ID. Depending on season, American sports often play on the television, as do English Premier league and Spanish Primera matches. Lager pints are €3.50 at happy hour, €5 after 20ː00 (except for student nights).
  • Le Piano Vache8, Rue Laplace (Métro: Maubert/Mutualité),  +33 1 46 33 75 03. A legendary part of student life in the real Latin quarter this dark barroom has walls covered with posters and photos of bands, but also a wall covered with passport-type photos of regulars past and present. At night things get going with DJs, bands of all styles, and on Tuesday nights, a pop-rock jam session. Beer €3.50, mixed drinks €6.50, coffee €1.
  • Polly Magoo3, rue du Petit Pont (Métro: Saint Michel). Su-Th, 12ː00-05ː00; F-Sa, 12ː00-08ː00. This bar bears no relation, beyond the name, to the legendary, sleazy, and legendarily sleazy bar which was further south up the street at 11, rue Saint Jacques and was replaced by a boutique hotel in 2002. Jim Morrison was a regular at the original bar, but the owners of the new version would be unlikely to let anyone that shabby come in. The Gaudi-esque bar and blue mosaic storefront make this bar a must see as well as a must sit for those who like their bars to come with a theme. Formule: (1 tapa, 1 beer) is €8.
  • Le Vieux Chêne69, rue Mouffetard (Métro: Place Monge). Just down the way from the fifth on the left is another hole-in-the-wall, this one dating from the 18th century. It was named after its sign, a bas relief of an old oak tree (vieux chene), which was around 250 years when it was chiseled off early in 2005 by workmen restoring the facade of the building. The selection of beers, etc., is good and the crowd is mostly students. Expect to pay around €4 for a pint. There is a minuscule dance floor in the atmospheric and sweaty cellar below. On Tuesday nights, there is live music and the musicians take requests from the crowd, playing classic French and American songs.

Sleep[edit]

St. Etienne du Mont in its Renaissance glory, just behind the Panthéon

Budget[edit]

  • Hôtel du Commerce14, rue de la Montagne-Sainte-Geneviève (Métro: Maubert-Mutualité),  +33 1 43 54 89 69fax: +33 1 43 54 76 09. The rooms are tiny, but cheap, especially for the location, just a stone's throw from Notre Dame. The hotel provides a shared kitchen area if you would like to save even more money by cooking some of the time, there are markets both nearby and over the hill on rue Mouffetard, so this is a good idea for budget travellers. Although they do have exactly one (pricier) room equipped with a shower, the rest of the rooms share a brand-new shower near the reception. Singles without start at €26. Showers cost €2.
  • Hôtel Esmerelda4, rue Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre (Métro: Saint-Michel),  +33 1 43 54 19 20. An excellent example of what happens when a "find" hotel is discovered by the travel guides, the Esmerelda has lost none of its charm, but the prices have crept up into nearly the two-star range, and you'll have to book ahead by at least a couple of months in the high season or around the winter holidays. On the plus side the place really does deserve the attention (and solid bookings), as it really is super charming, the welcome couldn't possibly be better and it's still on the cheap side. Try not to trip over the ample knick-knacks in your room, which will likely be named after a French singing star. A basic room is €65, doubles are €80-95.
  • Port-Royal-Hôtel8, boul de Port-Royal (Métro: Les Gobelins),  +33 1 43 31 70 06. Great hotel right next to the rue Mouffetard and its market. Whimsical rooms decorated in rich floral patterns. €39-87. Average room rate is around €55. Ask for a room with a bidet..
  • Young and Happy Hostel80, rue Mouffetard (Métro: Place Monge),  +33 1 47 07 47 07fax: +33 1 47 07 22 24. A hit with young travellers, the young and happy exists to save you money. The rooms are just as basic as can be, but clean unlike the average one-star, though they (in theory) turf you out at 11ː00 every morning to get them this clean. The location is hard to beat if you are looking for a nice evening out. The risk though is that if you party too much you won't see much else of Paris. Oh, English is the lingua-franca here. A dorm-room bed costs €28, while a double goes for €80.

Mid-range[edit]

  • Hotel Cujas Pantheon18, rue Cujas +33 1 43 54 58 10fax: +33 01 43 25 88 02, e-mail: . A small and tidy hotel situated on a quiet side street right beside the Sorbonne University and 5 min walking distance from the nearest métro station (Cluny-La Sorbonne) and the Panthéon. Single €74, double €97.
  • Hôtel de l'Esperance15, rue Pascal (Métro: Place Monge or Censier-Daubenton),  +33 1 47 07 10 99. This quirky little little family-run hotel just off of place Contrescarp and the rue Mouffetard has some really good value rooms, especially up on the top floor. The young staff gets high ratings, as does the proprietress (even with her very limited English), though it's sometimes best to avoid the proprietor depending on mood. €80-120.
  • Hôtel Familia11, rue des Ecoles (Métro: Maubert-Mutualité or Cardinal-Lemoine),  +33 1 43 54 55 27fax: +33 1 43 29 61 77. As with the Minerve (below), each of the rooms in this family run two-star is decorated with a unique medievalist mural by the artist Gérald Pritchard. This, combined with the antique furniture, gives the place some real character. If you are lucky enough to get a room with a balcony (ask!) you can enjoy your breakfast overlooking the courtyard (or the street). €73.50-90.
  • Hôtel du Levant18, rue de la Harpe (Métro/ RER B Saint-Michel),  +33 1 46 34 11 00fax: +33 1 46 34 25 87, e-mail: . Scoring consistently high marks for quality and spaciousness the du Levant is close to Place St. Michel. Apparently the rooms are mostly of a standard Paris size (small) but there are a couple of larger ones as well, so it's better to ask. €115-150 including breakfast and tax.
  • Hôtel Minerve13, rue des Ecoles (Métro: Maubert-Mutualité or Cardinal-Lemoine),  +33 1 43 26 26 04fax: +33 1 44 07 01 96. While not quite the bargain it was a couple of years ago when it was (erroneously) classified as a two-star, the properly three-star Minerve is a family-run operation (the same family as the Familia next door. It's worth staying here just to enjoy the antique-stuffed lobby and the individual murals which adorn each of the rooms. The rooms are all air conditioned, and the bathtubs (if your room has one) are huge. Watch your elbows in the tiny elevator though! €82-128.
  • Hotel Parc Saint Severin22, rue de la Parcheminerie. On a pedestrian street away from the noise and only one minute from the heart of the quartier Latin and lively restaurants.
  • Maitre Albert B&Brue Maitre Albert (Métro: Maubert Mutualité or RER St Michel), e-mail: . This lovely bed & breakfast, facing a floral courtyard, is at the second floor of a grand old building in the historical part of Paris. At the end of Maître Albert's street are the river, the island and Notre Dame. €95 per night for two people including breakfast.

Splurge[edit]

  • Hotel Mercure Paris La Sorbonne14, rue de la Sorbonne +33 1 56 24 34 34. In the centre of Paris between the 5th and the 6th, in front of the Sorbonne, and one block from the Latin quarter and Saint Germain des Prés. Notre Dame is five minutes walking distance from the hotel. Fully renovated in a contemporary style, this hotel is very quiet and charming. €134+.

Connect[edit]

Go next[edit]

Routes through 5th arrondissement
1st arrondissement4th arrondissement  N Paris m 4 jms.svg S  6th arrondissement14th arrondissement


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