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Visiting the 5th arrondissement of Paris

Discover the oldest district of Paris

When visiting the 5th arrondissement of Paris, you will discover a picturesque and lively district that is home to many historic sites and legendary addresses. Here are the activities and places that are not to be missed if you woud like to enjoy the charms of the fifth arrondissement to the full.

visiting 5th arrondissement paris

The must-see places in the fifth arrondissement

The most famous monument in the fifth arrondissement is the Pantheon. This majestic neoclassical edifice stands atop the Montagne Sainte-Geneviève. It houses the tombs of distinguished French citizens like Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Victor Hugo and Emile Zola.

Being the oldest district of Paris, the 5th arrondissement is home to the only two remaining ancient vestiges of Paris: the Arènes de Lutèce, an amphitheater built in the 2nd century that is accessible for free every day, and the thermes de Cluny, which are the ruins of Roman thermal baths lying in the Hôtel de Cluny.

Another place to see in the 5th arrondissement is the Jardin des Plantes. In this magnificent French garden you will find the National Museum of Natural History and the Menagerie, one of the oldest zoos in the world.

Things do during the day in the 5th arrondissement

If your day in the 5th arrondissement of Paris starts early, you may go to Place Monge where a typical French market is held three mornings a week (Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays).

A lovely way to spend time in the 5th arrondissement is to stroll along the streets around the Sorbonne University. Rue des Fossés Saint-Jacques, for example, is filled with authentic shops and commemorative plaques that will tell you more about the history of this district. At your arrival at numbers 16 and 18 of this street, slow down to admire the front of the bakery and butcher shop, which are classified as “monuments historiques” (historical monuments).

Continue your visit toward 29 rue de la Parcheminerie. At this address is the oldest bookshop in the French capital: the Delamain bookshop. A few steps away from there, at 37 rue de la Bûcherie, is the famous English-language bookshop Shakespeare and Company which is also worth a visit.

Things to do in the evening in the 5th arrondissement

In the early evening, you may go to the well-known rue Mouffetard from the charming Place de la Contrescarpe. The bustling rue Mouffetard is one of the most famous nightlife spots in Paris. It is filled with bars and restaurants where Parisians pleasanty mingle with tourists.

There are also a few entertainment venues to attend a show in the 5th arrondissement of Paris, including the Paradis Latin that is both the oldest cabaret in Paris and the only one cabaret on the Left Bank. Built by Napoleon in the early 19th century, it was rebuilt by Gustave Eiffel in 1889. Inside, you will discover the show “L’Oiseau Paradis”, directed and choreographed by Kamel Ouali. Poetry, humor, glamour and, of course, the traditional French Cancan are on the show!

After experiencing this wonderful moment at the Paradis Latin, you may head toward the Caveau de la Huchette! This mythical jazz club is located within a medieval cellar that once housed a revolutionary courtroom. You can have a drink there, and dance to the rhythm of swing songs until late at night.

paradis latin visit fifth arrondissement paris