Walk around the Mouffetard district
Posted in Hotel le 15 December 2023
Renowned for its friendly, young and dynamic atmosphere, the Latin quarter is made up of several small “sub-districts” where it is good to walk. Head to the 5th arrondissement, for a short cultural and pleasant walk in the heart of the Mouffetard district , a stone's throw from the Hôtel de l'Espérance.
The Arab World Institute
Let's start our walk on the banks of the Seine, at the Institut du Monde Arabe . From the Hôtel de l'Espérance, take metro line 7 and reach number 1 rue des Fossés Saint-Bernard, on the Left Bank of Paris.
The immense glass building immediately catches the eye, with its architecture adorned with oriental decorations. Inside, a museum extends over 3 floors and covers the history of Arab civilization , from prehistory to today. During your visit, take the time to go to the top floor terrace to enjoy a breathtaking view of Paris.
The Tino Rossi garden
Let's continue our walk on the Quai Saint-Bernard, to the Tino Rossi garden . Little known to tourists, this small square in the 5th arrondissement is a garden very popular with students from the Latin Quarter. Between picnics on the stone steps and festive aperitif dinners, the places offer the ideal setting for a moment of relaxation with friends. In summer, amateur musicians like to meet there for an impromptu evening.
From the Tino Rossi garden, you will observe a magnificent view of the Saint-Louis island and the Bercy district. Also stroll around the square, discovering the numerous statues and sculptures.
A stone's throw from the Tino Rossi garden, we find one of the best-known tourist sites in Paris: Garden plants . Located in the historic district of the 5th arrondissement, this garden is one of the largest in the capital, and offers many points of interest for curious visitors.
You can wander along the paths at random, but don't forget to go to the ecological garden, the educational vegetable garden, the large greenhouses, the labyrinth, or even the alpine garden. And if you wish, the menagerie with its numerous animals is also accessible from the Jardin des Plantes.
The National Museum of Natural History
Let's stay in the Jardin des Plantes, and now go to the Natural History Museum . This Paris museum includes different sections, such as the geology and mineralogy gallery or the paleontology and comparative anatomy gallery. But it is above all the Great Gallery of Evolution which attracts millions of visitors each year. This space entirely dedicated to the evolution of species is especially recognized for its immense caravan of animals from the African savannah, but we also discover more than 7,000 specimens retracing the history of the animal world.
A visit to the museum helps us understand Man and the way he interacts with his environment, thanks to fascinating exhibitions of fossils, ethnographic objects, and even minerals.
The Great Mosque of Paris
Leaving the Jardin des Plantes via rue Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire, you will come across our next destination: the Great Mosque of Paris . Visible from afar thanks to its 33 meter high minaret, this religious building is open to all, whether to gather in one of the prayer rooms, to discover the multiple galleries, to relax in the hammam, or to treat yourself to the tea room or restaurant. The Grand Mosque immerses you in a peaceful and silent atmosphere, where it is always very pleasant to walk around.
Your visit is also an opportunity to discover magnificent Moorish architecture . Built in homage to the Muslim soldiers who joined the French forces during the First World War, this building was offered to the Muslim community by the City of Paris in 1922.
It's difficult to discover the Mouffetard district without going to rue Mouffetard ! Just 500 meters from the Grand Mosque of Paris and the Hôtel de l'Espérance, this Parisian street is probably one of the oldest streets in the capital . It would have seen the light of day in Roman times, and more precisely in the 1st century AD, but it was not until the Middle Ages that the astonishing name of "Mouffetard" was attributed to it.
In reality, there is nothing very glorious about this name, since it comes from the expression “skunk”, which refers to a very strong and particularly nauseating odor. A stench that was found in rue Mouffetard, which was then the wastewater evacuation canal of Paris ! For a long time, this street was to be avoided.
Things have changed a lot, and Mouffetard is now one of the busiest neighborhoods in Paris 5 . For almost 650 meters, the street is full of life, with its local shops, its daily market, its ice cream seller, and its food shops. In the evening, the bars, restaurants and fast food outlets are the landmark of choice for the neighborhood's festive students.
The arenas of Lutèce
Arriving at the end of rue Mouffetard, at place de la Contrescarpe, take rue Lacépède to go to rue Monge. The Lutèce arenas are located there, representing one of the key historical monuments of the 5th arrondissement.
Built more than 2,000 years ago, this amphitheater from the Gallo-Roman era hosted the famous gladiator fights. Today, only a few remains of the stands remain, but we can easily imagine the immensity of the monument. And if theatrical performances and other sporting events are no longer relevant, the arenas on rue Monge remain an ideal place for a picnic in the sun.
Just a few minutes' walk from the Hôtel de l'Espérance , the Mouffetard district extends over the 5th arrondissement of Paris and invites you to discover part of the history of Paris and the world.