I worked in the Latin Quarter back in the middle 1970s. I was a part-time teacher, giving English lessons in various schools, and a part-time student, taking classes at the Sorbonne in French. The neighborhoods around the Panthéon were my stomping grounds for 4 or 5 years. I spent some of the best years of my youth there.
Here's a view looking up the rue Soufflot from the "front porch" of the Panthéon. I worked around here in the 1970s. The University of Illinois, where I was doing a graduate degree, had its Paris office at 21 rue Soufflot back then.
I never went up into the upper levels of the Panthéon back then. I asked the guide last Saturday morning if the kind of tour I was on was offered back then. No, he said, not on a regular basis. The monument was badly managed, and for years there was only a skeleton crew on duty. The Panthéon was open to the public once in a while, including the upper colonnade and the crypt, but on a very irregular schedule.
The Hôtel des Grands Hommes is the one in the middle of these three buildings.
In 1970, the first time I was in Paris, I stayed in a couple of different hotels in the area on several visits. I remember spending at least one night in the mid-'70s in the Hôtel des Grands Hommes, which is the middle building in the photo above. It was, frankly, a dive back in 1974. The hallways were dark and narrow. The rooms and plumbing were time-worn and in disrepair. My main memory is of not being able to get the key to open the door to my room when I arrived, completely jet-lagged and with a ton of baggage. I had to trudge back down two or three flights of stairs to get somebody from the front desk to come up and help me. They must have thought I was a lame-brain. Today, the Hotel des Grands Hommes is a three-star hotel.
Until last Saturday, I had never been inside the Eglise Saint-Etienne-du-Mont. Well, I got sort of inside. There was a priest celebrating mass and we tourists could only get just inside the front door for a glimpse of the interior of the church. Visitors are not allowed to wander around in the church while services are in progress. I'll have to try again the next time I'm in Paris.
Above is the town hall of the 5th arrondissement of Paris, which is the old Latin Quarter. I once spent a night in a jail cell in this building, which housed a small police station with a "holding tank" for people picked up wandering the streets drunk or drugged up. I was neither. But a friend I was traveling with and I couldn't find a hotel room in the area one evening in May 1970. We went to the police for help, and they let us sleep in a cell for a few hours until the sun came up. Then we were back on the street again. We found a hotel room in short order.