Paris's Fifth Arrondissement, or administrative district, is the historic heart of the Latin Quarter, which has been a center of scholarship and intellectual achievement for centuries. This district remains a major draw for tourists thanks to sights such as the Pantheon, the Sorbonne University, and the botanical gardens known as the Jardin des Plantes.
If you're planning a trip to Paris, you won't want to miss the many attractions and historic locations found in this southeast-central district—found on the left bank of the River Sienne—that dates back to ancient times.
Check out this map of the Fifth Arrondissement and get ready to discover the rich cultural, intellectual, and political history of Paris' oldest and most prestigious central district—originally constructed by Romans in the First Century B.C.
Main Sights and Attractions
When visiting the Fifth Arrondissement, you'll first want to stop in the Saint-Michel Neighborhood, which occupies most of this district to check out some of its local shops, historic venues, and numerous performance spaces. Roam down the Boulevard Saint Michel or Rue Saint Jacques where you can discover the Musée National du Moyen Age (Cluny Museum) and Hotel de Cluny, The Panthéon, or the Place Saint-Michel.
While there, you can also visit one of Europe's oldest universities, The Sorbonne, which was built in the 13th century as a religious school but later turned into a private institute. It also features the Chapelle Sainte-Ursule, which was an early instance of the domed roofs that became widely popular in other historic buildings across Paris.
Another great neighborhood, the Rue Mouffetard District, which is another of the oldest and most happening neighborhoods in the city. Here, you can check out the Institut du Monde Arabe, La Grande Mosquée de Paris (Paris Mosque, tearoom, and hammam), or the Roman-era colosseum, the Arènes de Lutece.
The Fifth Arrondissement also offers several of the oldest theaters in Paris, some of which have been converted into movie theaters while others still offer a host of plays and musical productions for locals and tourists alike to enjoy.
History of the Fifth Arrondissement
Originally established by Romans near the end of the B.C. epoch as the city of Lutetia after conquesting a Gaulish settlement in the area. The Romans kept this city as part of their massive empire for the better part of 400 years, but in 360 A.D., the city was renamed to Paris and most of the population moved to the Île de la Cité across the river.
This quarter of the ancient Roman city once housed a number of baths, theatres, and even an outdoor amphitheater, which you can still see remains of if you visit the district's Latin Quarter and search out the Les Arènes de Lutèce ruins.
You can also see some of the remains of the baths if you visit the Musée de Cluny or take a peek inside the Christian crypt underneath the Notre Dame forecourt, the Place Pope John-Paul II, and remains of an ancient Roman road were discovered on the campus of the University of Pierre and Marie Curie.