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The eastern part of the Latin Quarter.

Population was 58,849 in 1990 (11th most populated district) and land area is 2.54 km2 (14th largest district).


             `//`-----___        4th
     6th      //-----___ ---___      
            B //        ---___ ---___
           d // Bd.St-Germain ---___ --_
       ====.====================='  --_ -                         
           S //                        \ \  the
          a //  Cluny                   `\`\ Seine
          i //   Sorbonne                 `\`\                        
          n //               r              `\`\  
         t //                 .               \ \  
         - //      Panthéon   M          Jardin`\`\  
         M //                 o       des Plantes\ \       12th
        i //                  u                   `\`\
        c //                  f                    /\ \                
        h //                  f                   /  `\`\
       e //                  e                   / Aust\ \
       l //                  t                  /       `\`\              
         //                  a               __/          \ \
   ___  //                   r           __--
      --//____               d       __--
        //    ----____           __--
       //             ----_____--
    14th              
   
                                13th

Everything in italics in the map is outside the district.

Montagne Sainte-Geneviève

Basically, the 5th district is a hill bordered by a river. Wherever you stand in the district, the slope of the ground can help you to find your direction.

The Parisian ego calls this hill the Montagne (mountain) Sainte-Geneviève. On its top, it hosts the Panthéon, a church built in the 18th century and turned into a memorial to the Great Men. Many famous Frenchmen are buried there, including Voltaire, Rousseau and Victor Hugo, but only two women: Marie Curie and Sophie Berthelot, who died of sorrow one hour after her husband, a chemist, died. Even today, a new person is buried in the Panthéon from time to time, with an impressive ceremony.

Saint-Michel and the banks of the Seine

The district is bordered on its east side by boulevard Saint-Michel, which joins the Seine at Place Saint-Michel. This is the heart of the Latin quarter, which also contains most of the 6th district. Near the boulevard you'll find some of the most famous schools and universities in Paris, such as the Sorbonne ou Lycée Louis-Le-Grand, i.e the places where people spoke Latin in the old days. The castle of Cluny hosts a very interesting museum of the Middle Ages with the famous Lady and the Unicorn tapestries.

Place Saint-Michel is usually crowded with tourists and students who choose the fountain as a convenient meeting point. Visit the four or five Gibert bookshops surrounding the square if you like books.

Even the terrorists love Place Saint-Michel. A Middle Eastern bomb exploded inside a Gibert library in 1986. Two years later, a Christian bomb damaged a movie theater that showed Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ. And the last one was an Algerian islamist bomb in 1995, in the underground station.

If you want a cheap lunch in a very lively but not really Parisian atmosphere, go to rue de la Huchette. In the same street, a theatre has been showing Eugene Ionesco's The Bald Soprano with no interruption since 1957.

At the end of rue de la Huchette, walking along the Seine facing Notre-Dame, you'll find one of the weirdest bookshops in Paris which has the advantage, for most of you, of being an English bookshop: Shakespeare and Company. It's open late at night and it seems to be a good place to meet other foreigners. The library includes beds, kitchens and a well.

Then you'll have a walk on Quai de la Tournelle, where Woody Allen and Goldie Hawn dance a supernatural waltz in Everybody Says I Love You. And if you're rich, you may have dinner at La Tour d'Argent on the top of a building with a wonderful view on Notre-Dame (well, I suppose so, since I've never been there).

Jardin des Plantes and rue Mouffetard

Finally you'll get to the Jardin des Plantes, one of the most interesting gardens in Paris. It hosts a zoo and a sensational Musée d'Histoire Naturelle devoted to the evolution of the species. I'll always remember that cheap hotel facing the museum where I woke up one day and saw dinosaurs out of the window...

Then come back to the center of the district and have a tea at the Paris Mosque in a pleasant environment, or read a book in the Arenes de Lutece, a Roman amphitheatre rebuilt in the 19th century which is also one of the calmest spots in Paris.

Above the Arenes de Lutece, you'll cross the rue Monge and get to rue Mouffetard. From the small restaurants of Place de la Contrescarpe, the street slowly gets down to one of the most lively Parisian markets of Paris in front of Eglise Saint-Médard, near the limit of the 5th and the 13th district. Many movies feature this street as a typical Parisian quarter. Remember The Snows of Kilimanjaro, when Ava Gardner and Gregory Peck spend some wonderful days near Place de la Contrescarpe.

Until the 19th century, the rue Mouffetard used to continue to Place d'Italie, but Haussmann decided to replace that part of the street with a large avenue. But now we have left the 5th district, and we are in the 13th district.

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