24 Hours In Paris: The 5th Arrondissement

Take an in-depth tour of one of the city's coolest quarters.

If you visit Paris long enough to see diverse parts of the city that are not touristy, you’ll discover that each arrondissement (or neighborhood) has its own unique identity. While we all have a good mental image of what a Parisian girl looks like, her style can drastically change depending on what part of town she’s from. So, we came up with the idea of bringing you a travel guide to all of Paris’ 20 arrondissements – and what do do in each one if you only had 24 hours, plus what to wear to blend in like a local.
 
In this instalment, we finally cross the river Seine to the iconic Rive Gauche (left bank), where you will find many traces of past. The 5th arrondissement is one of the oldest parts of Paris, known as the Latin Quarter, and is home to some of most prestigious universities and schools in the city, such as La Sorbonne. We can't deny that this area is one of the most touristic parts of town but you will always find hidden gems among the major attractions. If you want to stand out from your fellow visitors, take style cues from the bookish, bohemian students who frequent the area. They certainly give Gucci’s models a run for their money. 

Image: TravelandLeisure.com

What better day than start the day with good homemade cake and a cup of great coffee. Strada Café makes one of the best flat whites in town and offers a small but delicious selection of sweet treats. After filling up, hike up the hill to the Panthéon (it’s worth it, trust us). This former church now houses the remains of France's distinguished writers and thinkers. Spend the rest of the morning exploring the quieter side of the arrondissement by walking downhill towards Rue des Ecoles, where you will stumble across unique, historic buildings – and the campus of La Sorbonne. As you cross onto Boulevard Saint Michel, the shops will begin to beckon you in. Since this is a university district, expect to find many book sellers. One of the biggest is Gibert Joseph, which has basically got a monopoly on the Place Saint Michel, with no fewer than five megastores in the area. But don’t get drawn in: you must visit the nearby Shakespeare & Company. Take a break at the adjoining coffee shop, complete with a view of the Notre Dame, and when you’re ready, head into the shop next door to explore the world-famous bookstore. There is a regular rotation of readings, talks and events – plus it’s prime celeb-spotting territory. 
 

Image: Marguerite-et-troubadour.fr

In this part of town, you will find many bistrots offering typical French cuisine. But if you are craving something a little different, head to Little Cantine for gourmet burgers. It is known for flavorful food with creative twists and fresh ingredients. This popular eatery counts many French style stars among its regular clientele, including blogger and designer Garance Doré. Next, head towards the Jardin Des Plantes for an afternoon walk as you digest your meal. This royal botanical garden also houses a small zoo, which was founded in 1795, and is part of the National Museum of Natural History. The museum itself dates back to the time of the French Revolution, in 1793! While there is plenty to do in the garden, especially in summer, we suggest that you head towards the Grande Mosquée de Paris, a beautiful mosaic-tiled mosque with a serene atmosphere. Find a stool in a quiet corner of the tearoom in the inner courtyard and order baklava with peppermint tea to freshen up. Tours of the actual mosque are also available. 
 

Image: Infosbar.com

Kick off the evening with high spirits on Rue Mouffetard, one of the oldest streets in the city. It is filled with diners, bars and cafes, which all come to life at night. If you're feeling up to it, bar hoping down the sloping street is not a bad idea. If you prefer quieter dinner, we suggest Sola for a perfect fusion of French and Japanese cuisine in a cozy, romantic setting. Later in the night, pregame at Solera. This new bar is a run by Christopher Gaglione, former barman-chef at Prince de Galles Hotel. While there are many hyped-up cocktail bars on the right bank of the river, Solera is definitely worth crossing the Seine to try. For those looking to go out on a high note, we recommend Le Piano Vache, a bar with a full schedule of musical performances where you can sip your drink while listening to some live jazz.

Check out our selection of pieces inspired by the 5th arrondissement's bookish, bohemian style to add to your closet for that local look: 
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Contrast bomber jacket - $149.99
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Missguided Petite Embroidered A Line Denim Skirt - $38.00
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Monki Stripe Ruffle Shirt - $46.00
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Retro Wildflower Embroidered Shirt in White - $42.42
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Ring Zipper off The Shoulder Sweatshirt - $96.00
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Edgy Appeal Bud Skirt - $38.17
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Rome Sandal - $90.00
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Crackled Vinyl Peg Trousers - $100.00
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Embroidered Denim Jacket - $134.00
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Nike Classic Cortez leather sneakers - €75
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Cover image: Parisinfourmonths.com