The 5th arrondissement was created on 24 March 1852 (date of creation of the first five arrondissements). It is the historic center of Lyon. It is at Fourvière that Munatius Plancus founded the Roman colony of Lugdunum in 43 BC. It was in this arrondissement that the Roman and medieval Lyon flourishes just before crossing the Saône.
Historic quarters of Lyon are well known, which are all touristic sites, but behind the Vieux Lyon and Fourvière, there are the residential areas of the Point du Jour, Champvert, Ménival, Saint-Irénée which remain misunderstood but still show traces of the Roman past of the city.
The Decree of 1 August 1963 linked the town of Saint-Rambert-l'Île-Barbe to the 5th arrondissement. But the following year, the district was divided, as the northern part became the 9th arrondissement of Lyon (Decree of 12 August 1964).