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5th Arrondissement (Latin Quarter), Paris Travel Guide

5th Arrondissement (Latin Quarter) Summary


  • Bustling, young scene
  • Bohemian culture and rich literary history
  • The Pantheon, where historic figures such as Voltaire and Rousseau are buried
  • The Sorbonne, the famous university founded in the Middle Ages
  • Ancient Roman ruins
  • Numerous (inexpensive) cafes and bistros
  • Streets are lined by wine shops, produce markets, and artsy movie theaters


  • Areas such as Place St-Michel are some of the most touristy in Paris
  • Numerous tourist-trap shops and restaurants

What It's Like

The 5th Arrondissement, also known as the Latin Quarter, is a bustling spot filled with locals, tourists, and students, situated on the city's Left Bank. The area is the educational center of Paris and has been since the Middle Ages when the famous Sorbonne university was built. Over the years the neighborhood has attracted intellectuals such as Ernest Hemingway (where in Paris hasn't?) and James Joyce, and though much of its quaint, literary charm has been corrupted by tourist trap restaurants and tacky souvenir shops, it is still a beautiful part of the city with many historically significant buildings.

The historic sights here date to various time periods: There is an ancient Roman theater, the Pantheon (an 18th-century mausoleum where historic figures such as Voltaire and Rousseau are buried), the Sorbonne, and the Museum of Natural History nestled in the Botanical Gardens. Bohemian movie theaters, wine shops, produce markets, and cafes also line the streets. Many cafes in the 5th Arrondissement, particularly those at Place St-Michel, can be subpar and inauthentic, but those who venture down side streets can often find delicious, and inexpensive, cafes and bistros.

Where To Stay

Like almost every other neighborhood in Paris, the 5th Arrondissement has numerous expensive hotels, but deals can be found in this area. Visitors may consider avoiding hotels in Place St-Michel and along Rue de la Huchette, two of the most touristy spots in the city. The southern area of the neighborhood is more residential, which can make for quieter, and more pleasant, hotel stays.

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