What to See and Do in the 5th Arrondissement of Paris?
Paris’ 5th arrondissement was once the academic hub of the city, and decades later it is still considered to be such. Here you’ll find the Sorbonne University, the Pantheon and the Arab World Institute, among dozens of other sites worth visiting. While the area still attracts students and young people from around the world, there are plenty of other sites to see. Here is a guide to get you started.
Saint Michel Fountain
While slightly lacking in the grand splendor of Rome’s Trevi fountain, this monumental work by architect Gabriel Davioud acts as a starting point for any visit to the 5th arrondissement. The fountain’s sculptures and ornaments, spouting water from several levels, make it a great addition to any travel photo album, and often the square in front plays host to entertaining street performances.
Métro: Saint Michel
Jardin des Plantes and the Natural History Museum
For all you nature lovers, this is the place to dedicate your afternoon. Hours can be spent here, admiring the obscure varieties of herbs and plants, finding calm in the Japanese Zen garden and catching a whiff of every type of flower under the sun. Once you’ve had enough of nature, head inside the Natural History Museum to visit giant humpback whales, fish fossils and life-size models of giraffes, hippos and more.
57 Rue Cuvier
01 40 79 30 00
Métro: Gare d’Austerlitz or Censier-Daubenton
Head up the hill from the Saint Michel Fountain and you’ll find yourself at Paris’s most well-known university. The massive stone structure and inner square are impressive, especially in light of the university’s history: the original University of Paris, now split into thirteen campuses, was first founded in the mid-12th century. There remain only three universities that have retained the “Sorbonne” name, with this one off of rue Saint Jacques being considered the self-proclaimed “official” Sorbonne.
Métro: Saint-Michel or Cluny-La Sorbonne
This towering, stone and marble structure was originally built as a church for Saint Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris in the 1800s, to house her relics. Now, the Pantheon is a mausoleum containing the remains of such prominent French citizens as writers Victor Hugo and Voltaire, and physicist Marie Curie. A tour inside allows for much admiring of the structure’s many wall frescos, stately columns and the eery crypt down below.
Place du Panthéon
01 44 32 18 00
Métro: Cardinal Lemoine
World Arab Institute
This institute was created in 1980 with the goal of spreading the word about the Arab world, its varied cultures and religions. Now, the center is an enormous structure just steps from the Seine, hosting contemporary art exhibitions, cinema, musical concerts, dance performances and Arabic language classes.
1 rue des Fossés Saint-Bernard
Place Mohammed V
01 40 51 38 38
If you don’t feel up to navigating the Latin Quarter’s winding streets on your own, join a walking tour with us so you don’t miss a thing.
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