Join us as we explore Paris neighborhood by neighborhood. Our educators map out for you the perfect day in the arrondissements they know best. In this first installment, our Creative Director, Emma Durrant, takes you to her old stomping grounds.
The 5th arrondissement is close to my heart since it is where I lived when I first moved to Paris to study at the Sorbonne. Get ready to discover hidden gems tucked away from the rush of the city!
Jardin des Plantes
57 Rue Cuvier
Start off your day at the Jardin des Plantes. These gardens, a mixture of formal and wilder spaces, boast a hedge maze that leads to a gazebo with a little-seen view over the city. Go on to explore the tropical plants in greenhouses before visiting the Natural History Museum and Paleontology and Anatomy Gallery (pictured above) all on the garden grounds.
Tea at the Grande Mosquée de Paris
39, Rue Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire
Just opposite the Jardin des Plantes lies a bit of Morocco in the heart of Paris. Modeled in part on the BouInania Madrasa in Fès, the Grand Mosquée de Paris was built to thank Muslim soldiers who served in WWI. The tea room is a haven of delight; sit in its walled courtyard and sip mint tea while sampling delicious North African pastries.
Arènes de Lutèce
49 Rue Monge
Less than ten minutes from the mosque, an inconspicuous doorway at 49 Rue Monge leads to one of Paris’ best-kept secrets: an ancient Roman amphitheater which could once seat 15,000! It was here that the people of Lutetia (Roman Paris) came to enjoy spectacles. Today it is a public park and favorite spot for pétanque players.
Lunch on the Rue Mouffetard
62, Rue Mouffetard
For lunch, take a 5-minute stroll up to Rue Mouffetard. This bustling street is full of restaurants, cafés, boutiques and an open market. At number 62, Au P’tit Grec makes delicious crêpes; their goat cheese and soutzouk with salad, tomato and onion is also a tasty treat.
Musée de Cluny
6 Place Paul Painlevé
Next up: Musée de Cluny, the unsung hero of Paris museums. This hybrid building is worth a visit for the architecture alone: an ancient Roman bathhouse juxtaposed with a gothic abbey. The stunning collection of medieval art won’t disappoint, either. We explore both on our Medieval Masterpieces at the Cluny Museum tour.
Dinner at L’Ecurie
2 Rue Laplace
This little restaurant next to the Pantheon is the perfect place to soak up the local atmosphere and end your day. The fare is traditional and hearty, the prices reasonable. Try their steaks and grilled dishes accompanied by simple, tasty sauces. Sitting beneath the 17th-century vaulted stone ceilings is an experience in itself.