The 5th district in Paris – Les Jardins du Luxembourg
Hotel in the heart of Latin Quarter
South axe of this small town still exists; it is the rue Saint Jacques. You are a stone’s throw away from the Luxembourg Gardens. It was Marie de Medicis who decided to build the palace that is now the Senate building when she wished to leave her apartments in the Louvre. The 5th arrondissement is the oldest part in Paris and was the Roman town known as Lutèce. The North-The gardens are the perfect place for a stroll or a jog. There are playgrounds for children and coffee shops in the park. On the main octagonal pond, you will see young children playing with old wooden sailboats, just as their forefathers did over 100 years ago. There are also outdoor chess games you can join in on; tennis courts; a puppet theatre and everywhere green metal chairs that you can move to sit in the sun and enjoy watching the garden’s scenery or a quiet read.
As you walk up la Rue Soufflot you will arrive at the top of the Montagne Sainte Genevieve where there were the ruins of an abbey. In this area, everything is of great historical significance: King Louis the 15th vowed to build a beautiful church to give thanks when he recovered from a terrible illness. The project chosen was the one by Soufflot and, twenty years after his vow, the king laid the foundation stone in 1764. At the time of the French Revolution, the building was finally completed but not yet consecrated. It was therefore chosen and modified to become the Panthéon, a place to honor the great men of the Nation.
There followed many political changes in France and the Panthéon followed these changes – the building went back and forth between a religious and a secular building (crosses were put on the dome and then removed; words were engraved on the front and then also removed).
In 1851 Léon Foucault, the physicist, found the height of the ceiling to be the perfect place to hang his pendulum, known as Foucault’s Pendulum, to demonstrate the rotation of the earth. Around the Panthéon, you can admire the church Saint-Etienne-du-Mont. It is particularly interesting to notice the architectural changes it has gone through as it has been modified from the 6th century onward. There is also the famous Lycée Henri IV, the Bibliothèque Sainte Geneviève and the Mairie, all built using a fine local quarry stone.
The Sorbonne University was founded by Robert de Sorbon in 1253. It was created for students in theology. It was renovated in the 17th century by Richelieu who had been a student there. You will see many young students wondering around, searching for books in the numerous bookshops and discussing works of literature and philosophy in the nearby cafés.
For those who are interested in history, do not miss the Roman baths (Les Thermes) at the Musée de Cluny or the wonderful Musée de Moyen Age which houses the world famous tapestries of the Lady and the Unicorn.
You are in the heart of the Latin Quarter in Paris!