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Paris Metro Line 5 Must-Sees

The Line for Taking Trains, Seeing Street Art, & Ambling Along the Canal
Paris metro sign
Last updated January 25, 2023
Best known for taking riders to the main Paris train stations, this long metro line also leads to some of the city’s most underrated corners, including a charming street-art-filled neighborhood and the cool Canal Saint-Martin.

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Many visitors know the portion of Paris Metro Line 5 that takes you to the city’s major train stations Gare du Nord, Gare de l’Est, and Gare d’Austerlitz, but few ever continue on to the line’s off-the-beaten-track destinations. And it’s these stops which make this metro line most interesting.

Want to learn more about the city’s subway system? Get to Know the Paris Metro.

Map of Paris metro line 5

The orange line on Paris’s metro map dates back to 1906 when Line 5 got its start it connecting Place d’Italie with the Gare d’Orléans, now known as Gare d’Austerlitz. Over the years, la ligne was slowly extended to reach Gare du Nord. Then World War II put a hold on construction. The line didn’t reach its current northern terminus until 1985.

Although Line 5 passes through many predominantly residential areas, it is great for passengers looking to stretch their legs the length of Paris’s many canals or discover some of the city’s street art.

Starting in northeast Paris, in the 19th Arrondissement, metro station Ourcq is the perfect stop for both a walk along the water and soaking up some urban artworks. As you stroll beside the Basin de la Villette, pay attention to its many bridges covered in street art. Also make sure to venture down Rue de l’Ourcq which is one of the best places in Paris to see artworks by Da Cruz, a French artist heavily inspired by trips to South America.

Book a private Street Art Tour of the Butte Aux Cailles for your family.

Bassin de la Villette in the 19th arrondissement of Paris
To enjoy a sunny afternoon on the Bassin de la Villette, get off the Line 5 at stations Ourcq, Laumière, or Jaurès.

If you’re up for a long walk alongside the canal, keep going until you reach République where you can catch the Line 5 or take the route in reverse, starting at République then following the Canal Saint-Martin north until it meets the Bassin de la Villette, continuing on into the suburb of Pantin.

The next stop, Oberkampf, lets you explore the lively Rue Oberkampf brimming with boutiques, cafés, and restaurants. A nightlife hotspot too thanks to the many bars in the area, this street also boasts a lovely old-fashioned bathhouse dating back to 1886 that’s well worth a visit.

Place de la Bastille in Paris
The site of the famous Bastille which was stormed during the French Revolution, today the Place de la Bastille is where to go for an opera, inexpensive bars, and a unique Parisian park.

Bastille is the place to step off for an evening at the opera, an afternoon stroll along the High Line-style park La Coulée Verte René-Dumont, shopping on Rue du Faubourg du Saint-Antoine and Rue de Charonne, or an inexpensive night out at the many bars and restaurants between Rue de la Roquette and Rue de Lappe.

Onward to Place d’Italie, this stop in the 13th Arrondissement is the gateway to the Butte-aux-Cailles neighborhood, a hilly little village full of charm and street art. Take time to meander through the small alleyways and down the atmospheric lanes. And keep an eye out — not one corner has been left unadorned with amazing art!

The area also has two farmers’ markets, one along the Boulevard Auguste-Blanqui Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday mornings, and another on Rue Bobillot Tuesday and Friday mornings.

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