5th Arrondissement Kids
Place du Panthéon, 5th
Modeled after the Pantheon in Rome, this giant mausoleum houses the remains of some of Paris's most famous citizens: Victor Hugo, Voltaire, Jean Monnet, Marie and Pierre Curie, Emile Zola, and as of 2002, Alexandre Dumas. And it was under the central dome that Léon Foucault constructed his pendulum to demonstrate the rotation of the earth (the original now lives in the Musée des Arts et Métiers). In 2007, Jacques Chirac dedicated a plaque in The Pantheon to the thousands of French citizens who harbored Jews during the German occupation, saving them from concentration camp internment.
Musée National d’Histoire Naturelle
36 Rue Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire, 5th
While the Jardins des Plantes’ Menagerie houses living endangered species (like red pandas and gaurs), its Natural History Museum houses taxidermy (like dodos and coelacanths), teaching kids and adults alike about the importance of conserving diverse animal life. Highlights include fossils and dinosaur skeletons in the Galerie de Paléontologie et d'Anatomie Comparée and meteorites in the Galerie de Minéralogie et de Géologie.
19 Quai de la Tournelle, 5th
It’s casual and cozy here, which is the perfect backdrop for the rural French food on offer. We come for the delicious roast chicken on Sundays; since most restaurants are closed, it can get quite busy, but in a low-key convivial way. Ask for a table by the window overlooking the Seine.
Le Bonbon Au Palais
19 Rue Monge, 5th
Styled to look like a 1950s classroom, Georges Marques’ shop offers hundreds of candies sourced from all over France. It’s kind of an amazing way to take a geography lesson, really, particularly because Georges is happy to lead willing students on a tour of the country’s various candy-producing zones. Everything—from the candied fruits to pastilles to calissons to chocolate—is arranged in old-fashioned apothecary jars.
Le Jardin des Plantes
57 Rue Cuvier, 5th
First planted in 1635 as a medicinal herb garden by Guy de la Rousse, Louis XIII’s physician, these days Le Jardin des Plantes offers 69 sprawling acres of botanical gardens, scenic trails, and a natural history museum. The highlight, though, is a small zoo, which was founded in 1795, making it the second oldest in the world that’s still in existence (it’s outranked by Tiergarten Schönbrunn in Austria). Once home to animals from Versailles’ royal menagerie, the zoo is now known for its unusual, exotic (and often endangered) species.
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