Latin Quarter Guide: What to Do in the 5th Arrondissement of Paris
The Latin Quarter of Paris is one of the most charming neighborhoods in the left bank of Paris. I have to admit it took me some time to visit the Latin Quarter, but once I did, I immediately fell in love and booked a 6-week stay there last fall. It is mostly contained within the 5th arrondissement of Paris, but some parts of the 6th are also referred to as the Latin Quarter.
The Latin Quarter is known as a student quarter because it is home to some of the oldest scholarly institutions in Paris like the elite La Sorbonne university. In fact, the Latin Quarter got its name from the Latin language, the only common language spoken among the many students from various corners of Europe who attended school there in the Middle Ages.
Today, the Latin Quarter is a nice break from the extremely popular tourist attractions of central Paris, though it’s not so far that you feel like you’re missing out. It’s the perfect balance between local Paris and tourist Paris! From the Roman ruins, to the charming bookstores to the botanical gardens and student cafés, the Latin Quarter is not to be missed.
Latin Quarter Guide
If you’re heading to the Latin Quarter and wondering what to do, then keep reading our guide to the Latin Quarter!
The Best Hotels in the Latin Quarter, Paris
I recommend the following hotels for your stay in the Latin Quarter:
- Hotel Monge – $200+/night
- Melia Paris Notre-Dame – $180+/night
- Hôtel du Collège de France – $150+/night
- Best Western Hotel Jardin de Cluny – $120+/night
Getting To and From the Latin Quarter, Paris
If you’re staying elsewhere and just want to visit the 5th, then the best way to get there is by metro! The Latin Quarter is mainly served by metro lines 10 and RER B but you can access different areas from the following metro stops:
RER B: Saint-Michel Notre-Dame, Luxembourg
RER C: Saint-Michel Notre-Dame
Line 10: Cluny – La Sorbonne, Maubert – Mutualité, Cardinal Lemoine, Place Monge
Line 7: Place Monge
Things to Do in the Latin Quarter, Paris
There are so many things to do and see in the Latin Quarter! Here are a few must-see sights and major attractions in the 5th arrondissement of Paris!
Place Saint-Michel – The Place Saint Michel is a great starting point for exploring the Latin Quarter. It was completed in 1855 and features a beautiful fountain known as Fontaine Saint-Michel designed by architect Gabriel Davioud. It depicts the Archangel Saint Michael and the devil, flanked by two dragons spouting water.
Panthéon – The most famous monument in the Latin Quarter is no doubt the Panthéon, a mausoleum holding the remains of distinguished French citizens.
Saint-Étienne-du-Mont Church – You may recognize the steps of this beautifully ornate 15th century church, as the ones featured in the film Midnight in Paris.
La Sorbonne – Even if you aren’t enrolled, you should definitely visit the beautiful square in front of the Sorbonne university. If you have the time, book a tour to learn about this historic institution.
Rue Mouffetard – Don’t miss a walk down the Rue Mouffetard during your visit to the Latin Quarter. Filled with restaurants, boutiques and even an outdoor market, this is one market street not to be missed!
Jardin du Luxembourg – Not far from the Latin Quarter is the beautiful Jardin du Luxembourg, a sprawling park that is one of the most romantic in all of Paris.
Arènes de Lutèce – The Arènes de Lutèce are the remains of a destroyed Roman amphitheater, and provide a quiet refuge away from the hustle and bustle of the Latin Quarter.
Jardin des Plantes – The stunning botanical garden of Paris is located in the 5th! Enjoy the expansive green grounds for a relaxing day among nature in Paris.
Watch an Arthouse Film – The Latin Quarter is packed with arthouse cinemas that show independent films to the public for a small fee. If you’re a film buff, this could be an interesting thing to do in the Latin Quarter!
Square René-Viviani – This tiny square is home to the oldest tree in Paris, which supposedly dates back to 1650!
Museums in the Latin Quarter
The Latin Quarter has its fair share of cultural museums where you can learn about science and natural history in Paris. Here are a few recommendations:
Musée de Cluny
The Cluny Museum, also called the National Museum of the Middle Ages, is a museum where you can learn about medieval times through artifacts and remnants from the period. Head inside this fortress-like museum to see its famous Unicorn Tapestry for yourself.
Muséum national d’histoire naturelle
The National Museum of Natural History of Paris has been open since 1640! You will be amazed at its Botanical Gardens, while the Evolution Gallery will teach you about the development of Earth’s animals through fossils and skeletons.
The Curie Museum is a museum devoted to radiology research. The museum is located inside Marie Curie’s former laboratory, and was established after her death in 1934.
Where to Eat in the Latin Quarter, Paris
Lunch & Dinner
La Petite Périgourdine
Pastry Sébastien Degardin
Where to Go Out in the Latin Quarter, Paris
You can find a ton of bars and restaurants just by walking around the Latin Quarter, but here are my favorite places to go ou in the 5th arrondissement to get you started:
Comptoir du Panthéon – Get a glass of wine on this lovely terrace with a stunning view of the Panthéon!
Place de la Contrescarpe – Place de la Contrescarpe is a lively square that you’ll love drinking wine in!
Those are my best tips for visiting the Latin Quarter of Paris! What are your favorite travel tips for the 5th?