We are continuing our discovery of the different neighborhoods in Paris. This time Cécile, who has lived in the neighborhood a few months, talks with us about the oldest neighborhood in the city, the 5th arrondissement.
How does an “ideal day” in the 5th arrondissement start?
First off, I suggest you walk around the neighborhood, going down the Rue Monge, in order to immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the Latin Quarter. I would make a detour at the Arènes de Lutèce, an ancient Roman amphitheater, which now welcomes bocce ball players and little neighborhood festivals when the weather is nice. Next, I recommend heading to the Arab World Institute, an elegant building with a glass façade that reproduces the patterns of traditional Mashrabiyas, where the past, modernity and French and Arab cultures come together. Make the most of it and go have a coffee on the building’s top-floor terrace, where you will have an unrestricted panoramic view of Notre Dame and the city.
Institut du Monde Arabe – 1 Rue des Fossés Saint-Bernard
What do you do for lunch and for afternoon activities?
The Rue Mouffetard is known for its many Savoyard fondue restaurants. So I would go enjoy this famous, delicious Savoyard melted-cheese dish, straight from the French Alps. Next, I walk to the Jardin des Plantes, a Parisian garden that has been in existence for nearly 400 years. I like to walk among the many plant varieties and take a little break on the lawn, in the sunshine. Next, I visit the pink flamingoes and other animals in the garden’s zoo.
La ménagerie du jardin des plantes – 57 rue Cuvier
Where does shopping fit in?
The neighborhood is overflowing with little boutiques where you can find a little gift or knick-knack for home, or just for the pleasure. I particularly like a boutique called Tout Noté, which specializes in stationery, and where you can find lovely notebooks, pencils, post cards, and little decorative items. Science fiction fans can find happiness at Galactic Stories, a veritable temple dedicated to sci-fi, where they can by comics, books, films, or figurines of their favorite characters.
Tout Noté – 35 rue Jussieu
Galactic Stories – 6 bis rue des écoles
A good tip for ending the day on a high note?
I recommend going and having a cocktail at one of the most cosmopolitan squares in the neighborhood: Place de la Contrescarpe. Having a drink at the end of the day on this little tree-lined cobblestone square is a great way to relax with friends and will immediately plunge you into the atmosphere of the 5th arrondissement, and give you the feeling of living like a Parisian!