Once the centre and intellectual heart of Paris, the 5th arrondissement has gone through a revamp and is now also a very popular destination with tourists. The area is filled with second-hand bookshops and unpretentious bars. Conversations tend to be on the intellectual side, despite many locals believing that the area has lost the charm that it used to have in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The arrondissement is full of universities: whether in Quartier Saint-Victor or Quartier du Jardin-des-Plantes, the Pierre and Marie Curie University, the Université Paris Descartes and the School of Industrial Physics are all located there.
Quartier de la Sorbonne is named after the famed university where the intellectual elite of Paris study. It is another important intellectual landmark for the city. Built upon the Montagne Sainte-Geneviève, the university offers beautiful views of Paris.
Tourists on the literary trail hoping to see traces of Simone de Beauvoir and Honoré de Balzac often visit the neighbourhood. And although Victor Hugo and Pierre Currie have been replaced by hoards of students, the 5th has retained an erudite feel that keeps the area dynamic and unique.
There’s always a new bar to discover and a bookshop to visit, so the district is never dull, whether at night or day. Tourists love the neighbourhood since the nightlife is diverse and it provides a good look at the youthful scene of Paris without straying too far from the centre.