6th Arrondissement with 19 Things to Do in Saint Germain Paris
Want to explore a chic, yet quintessential Paris neighbourhood? The 6th arrondissement, also known as Saint Germain des Pres, is a must-see when in Paris.
This 6th district in Paris is located in the heart of the Left Bank, or Rive Gauche. It lies between the 5th arrondissement, or Latin Quarter, and the 7th arrondissement, where you’ll find the Eiffel Tower.
Saint Germain de Pres Paris is famous for its historic cafe culture. The Saint Germain district is where many iconic writers and artists lived and worked during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. And, that wonderful cafe culture still exists today.
Wondering what to do in St Germain Paris? I’ve got you covered. Use this as your ultimate guide for all things related to the 6th arrondissement of Paris, including things to do in Saint Germain des Pres.
Allons y… let’s go!
Table of Contents
Main Sites in the 6th Arrondissement in Paris
Saint Germain Des Pres Church
One of the oldest churches in Paris is Saint-Germain des Prés. The church was founded as far back as the 540s but rebuilt many times throughout the centuries.
Free to visit, and tour the restored abbey with its incredible vaulted ceiling and flying buttresses similar to those found in Notre Dame Cathedral.
- Address: 3 Pl. Saint-Germain des Prés
- Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 8am to 7:45pm, Sunday 9am to 8pm
- Cost: Free
- Insider’s Tip: visit in late November to early December where the Saint-Germain-des-Prés Christmas Market takes place in the square directly in front of this historic building
- Hidden gem alert: check out the often-missed hidden garden called Square Laurent Prache (1 place Juliette Gréco) is a pretty and tranquil spot away from the busy boulevard Saint Germain
One of the most beautiful parks in Paris just so happens to be located in the Saint Germain des pres neighbourhood. And, it just so happens to be one of my favourite things to do in the 6th arrondissement.
Jardin du Luxembourg is a 55-acre of green space where Parisians come to sit, relax and stroll while admiring the pretty gardens and 106 statues dotted around the park.
The grand 17th-century Palais du Luxembourg, now the French Senate, is the park’s focal point. The beautiful Fountaine de Médicis, found along the side of the Luxembourg palace is one of my favourite things about Luxembourg Gardens.
- Address: use any of these main entrances – Place Edmond Rostand, Place André Honnorat, Rue Guynemer, or Rue de Vaugirard
- Opening hours: open daily from sunrise to sunset
- Cost: Free
- Insider’s Tip: there is only one area of the park where you can sit on the grass, but there are many metal green chairs scattered about
- Hidden gem alert: seek out the Statue of Liberty in Luxembourg Gardens, a miniature version
- Nearby cafe: if you want to pick up a coffee and sweet treat to sit and enjoy in the park, head to Treize Bakery Paris (5 Rue de Médicis, 75006)
Saint Sulpice Church
Sitting on a large square is a beautiful cascading fountain in the centre with the second largest church in Paris, Notre Dame being the first, on the perimeter.
The Da Vinci Code, both the book and the movie, made this 17th-century Sulpice church famous. The two large murals painted by Delacroix, its grand organ and the legends of hidden meanings in the architecture all form part of the intrigue to visit here.
- Address: 2 Rue Palatine
- Opening hours: open daily 8am to 8pm
- Cost: Free
- Fun Thing to Do: join a 3-hour chocolate walking tour where you can nibble on some sweet decadent chocolates from the nearby shops while the guide tells you stories of the Sulpice church and fountain, book your dates here
Fountaine Saint Michel
It’s hard to miss this large Saint-Michel fountain at the busy intersection of boulevard Saint-Michel and Place Saint-Michel.
As part of the Haussmann rebuilding during the 19th century, the intention of the fountain was to hide the end wall of a building. Combine seeing this with a walk to Pont Saint-Michel on the Seine.
- Address: Bd Saint-Germain & Bd Saint-Michel
- Opening hours: open daily, 24 hours
- Cost: Free
- Fun Fact: Emily in Paris fans might remember the first time Mindy is busking in front of this ornate Parisian fountain
19 Things to Do in St Germain Paris
These 19 things to do in St Germain are not in any particular order of what to see first. But if you were to look at a map of the 6th arrondissement you’ll notice I have grouped them (somewhat) by their location and proximity to each other.
Think of this as a kickstart to shape your Saint Germain itinerary planning!
1. Breakfast at Les Deux Magots
Les Deux Magots café was first established in 1812 at rue de Buci and later moved in 1873 to its present location.
The café is well known for its famous past patrons from the arts, literature and intellectuals. People like the young Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, Pablo Picasso and Julia Child.
What to do in the 6th arrondissement, take part in the cafe culture that makes this city so endearing.
Address: 6 Place Saint-Germain-des-Prés
2. Discover Place de Furstemberg
This tiny area in the heart of the Saint Germain neighbourhood is a gem! A tiny square with 2 towering trees sitting in the middle of a quiet street is one of the most romantic areas in Paris. The architecture is stunning, the elegant Parisian-style lamp post is lovely, and the shops are super chic.
Address: Rue de Furstemberg
3. Visit Musée National Eugène Delacroix
Visit one of Paris’ smallest museums – Musee National Eugene-Delacroix. You can visit the home, private garden and studio of the famous French artist, Eugène Delacroix to see his work. Paintings, drawings and even personal letters are on display.
- Address: 6 Rue de Furstemberg
- Opening hours: Wednesday to Monday 9:30am to 5:30 pm, Closed Tuesdays
- Cost: Full price: €7
- Insider’s tip: this museum is free on the first Sunday of the month
4. Admire the Beaux-Arts de Paris
You’ll easily notice some impressive buildings located along rue Bonaparte to quai Malaquais and these belong to the historic Beaux-Arts de Paris – a French school dedicated to fine arts. The oldest buildings date back to 1648 and house the largest public art collections in France.
- Address: 14 Rue Bonaparte
- Opening hours: open to the public during Journées du Patrimoine (September), Journées d’information (early February) or Ateliers Ouverts (last weekend in June)
- Cost: Free
5. Seek solitude at Square Gabriel Pierne
This pretty little hidden garden is a delight! Come spring this square turns pink with its cherry blossom trees.
But, really any time of year this is a lovely place to come, sit and admire. What makes this worth seeking out is its interesting features. Stone benches shaped like open books, a pretty water fountain that’s listed as a historical monument, and a bronze statue named ‘Caroline’.
Address: 5 Rue de Seine
6. Visit Institut de France
One of the most attractive buildings along the Seine is this one – the Institu de France! A former school built between 1662 and 1688 it housed multiple academies that support the arts, literature and science.
It’s also home to the Bibliothèque Mazarine, the oldest public library in France.
For most travellers, we will want to admire (and photograph) this beautiful building from the Pont des Arts bridge.
- Address: 23 quai de Conti
- Opening hours: Saturday 10am to 6pm La Coupole only
- Cost: Free
- Insider’s tip: the Mazarine Library is open to readers and visitors Monday to Friday 10am to 6pm
7. Visit the Original Love Lock Bridge – Pont Des Arts Bridge
In 1804, Pont des Arts became the first metal bridge in Paris.
The nine-arch bridge spanning over the Seine has been referred to as the love lock bridge. Although no longer allowed, it is a lively bridge full of artists, musicians and people admiring one of the best views of the Eiffel Tower.
8. Peruse les Bouquinistes de la Seine
You can’t help but notice the little green bouquinistes or booksellers along both sides of the Seine river. These open-air bookshops are just one of the reasons why I love Paris! There’s nothing better than taking a leisurely stroll along the Seine to see if something catches your eye from rare books to artwork to vintage posters.
Bouquinistes are open daily from morning to dusk, and each one (or a block) has specific days that they open. The ones in the 6th arr can be found from bridges Pont des Arts to Pont Neuf to Pont Saint Michel.
9. Admire the views from Pont Neuf bridge
Pont Neuf is the oldest standing bridge in Paris built in the 16th and 17th centuries.
It’s also known as the third longest with a span of 5 arches from the left bank to the end of Ile de la Cité and another span of 7 arches joins the island to the right bank.
10. Walk along the Pont Saint-Michel bridge
Pont Saint-Michel is a stone bridge, first constructed in 1378, and rebuilt several times, most recently in 1857.
The Saint Michel bridge links the Palais de Justice on the Ile de la Cité to the Place Saint-Michel and its fountain. Look out for the interesting detail of the capital letter N, the imperial insignia of Napoleon III.
11. Stroll the Rue De Buci
This little Paris street is bustling day and night with people shopping, drinking and dining. Starting at the crossroads of rue de l’Ancienne-Comédie, rue Dauphine and rue Mazarine, rue de Buci winds its way to Boulevard Saint-Germain.
It passes by rue Grégoire-de-Tours, another street worth exploring. Rue de Buci offers endless options for restaurants and cafes, a recommended one is Café de Buci, with its signature red awnings.
12. Seek out the Passageway Cour Du Commerce St Andre
This Paris street is a cobbled laneway that feels like you’ve stepped back in time to 1734. An almost hidden passageway, Cour du Commerce St André runs between rue Saint-André des Arts and Boulevard Saint Germain.
Stroll through this historic part of Paris. Looking for places to sit and stay awhile – try Le Procope, Le Relais Odeon or La Jacobine. Specialty shops to look for are Maison Brémond 1830 and Epicerie Fine and Grim’Art.
13. Dine at the Oldest Cafe
Opening its doors in 1686, Café Procope is the oldest restaurant in Paris. Throughout the centuries it was known as the meeting place for intellectuals and prominent politicians.
It’s also known as the place from which French coffee culture began. Years before, coffee was only ever sold on the street until Café Procope became the first coffee house.
Today, it retains its former glory and original charm as you feast on classic French dishes.
Address: 13 Rue de l’Ancienne Comédie
14. Catch a Show at Odéon – Théâtre de l’Europe
Visit the impressive Place de l’Odéon square and visit the oldest theatre still in operation. This elegant theatre from the exterior with its stone columns to the lush red and gold details of the interior is stunning! t historical monument with its classical columns still has performances from Tuesdays through Sundays.
- Address: Place de l’Odéon
- Opening hours: Performances Tuesday to Sundays
- Cost and Booking information: Visit the website
15. Check out the Exhibits at Musee du Luxembourg
The Musée du Luxembourg, located in Luxembourg Gardens, was the first French museum opened to the public in 1750.
This museum specializes in rotating exhibits focused on Renaissance in Europe. Its spaces have been completely redesigned by architect Shigeru Ban to accommodate the Angelina restaurant/tea room and educational workshops of the Museum.
- Address: Place de l’Odéon
- Opening hours: Performances Tuesday to Sundays
- Cost: Varies on the exhibit, but generally tickets will be close to €12
- Insider’s tip: the museum offers 75-minute guided tours for €18 (entrance included)
16. Afternoon Tea at Cafe Angelina
One of the prettiest, and most popular, cafes in Paris are Cafe Angelina. Famous for its beautiful interiors, scrumptious patisseries, and very rich and decadent hot chocolate.
The primary location can be found on rue de Rivoli, but equally pretty is the location in the Saint Germain neighbourhood.
- Address: 19 rue de Vaugirard
- Opening hours: Open daily from 11am to 7pm
- Insider’s tip: make a reservation or you’re bound to wait in line
17. Shop at the Oldest Department Store
The oldest of four department stores in Paris France is Le Bon Marché. All except this one can be found on the Right Bank or rive droite.
Step inside this Grands Magasins of Paris and you will immediately recognize the famous escalators. Founded in 1838, it was expanded to its current size in 1852. The modern design was the influence of Gustave Eiffel, creator of the Eiffel Tower.
- Address: 24 Rue de Sèvres
- Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 10am to 7:45pm and Sunday 11am to 7:45pm
- Insider’s tip: one of my favourite things to do in the 6th arrondissement is also to visit the next door, La Grande Epicerie, Paris’ most famous food stores to the delight of all foodies
18. Linger over a Drink at Cafe de Flore
Café de Flore, 1887, is the meeting place for centuries to enjoy great conversation and linger over a drink- whether that is a coffee or wine.
Like Les Deux Magots, it was popular with the same type of crowd of artists, writers and intellects. The tradition continues as Café de Flore is the best place to sit and linger over a drink any time of day.
Address: 172 Boulevard Saint-Germain
19. Take a Saint Germain des Près Guided Walking Tour
Join a 90-minute historic walking tour with a local guide and hear the stories about the Saint Germain des Pres neighbourhood that shaped Paris’ reputation as a sophisticated city of intellectualism, art, literature, and philosophy.
Book your dates for this Saint Germain district walking tour
Restaurants in Paris 6th arrondissement
Some of the best restaurants in Paris can be found in the 6th arrondissement. Beyond the historic ones I recommended above in the ‘Top Things to Do in 6th Arrondissement’ – you may wish to try these:
- Le Bistrot d’Henri (16, Rue Princesse, 75006 Paris)
- Allard (41, rue Saint-André des Arts)
- Semilla (54, Rue de Seine)
If you want to be spontaneous and pick a restaurant while exploring the 6th arrondissement make your way to rue de Buci. There is a great selection of restaurants that line this lively street.
Best Hotels in 6th Arrondissement Paris
On every return trip to Paris, I stay in a different arrondissement to really experience and get to know each district. If you prefer to say in a holiday rental as I do, here are the best places to stay in the sixth arrondissement.
- Voyage of the Beagle – tiny in size, but big in style this 1-bedroom is the perfect pied-à-terre €
- Scented Rose Petals – a pretty studio with lovely romantic feminine touches perfect for the female solo traveller or couple €
- Charming Touron – 1-bedroom with original charm Parisian charm with its beamed ceiling €
- The Grey Strips – a 2-bedroom open concept space with a beamed ceiling and large windows for light to pour in €
- The Lodge – a gorgeous 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom apartment close to Jardin du Luxembourg is stylized in modern Provencal décor €€€
- Assas II – a light, small 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom family-friendly apartment close to Jardin du Luxembourg €€€€€
- Or, do your own search here for holiday rentals or if you prefer a hotel stay
FAQ about the Saint Germain Neighbourhood
Is the 6th arrondissement a good place to stay?
Yes, the 6th arrondissement is a good place to stay if you like a quiet, chic area of Paris that is central to other top attractions like the Eiffel Tower and the Seine River.
What is the 6th arrondissement known for?
The 6th arrondissement is known for its cafe culture, boutique shops and stellar restaurants. The chic Saint Germain neighbourhood is home to the oldest church in Paris – Saint Germain des Pres.
Paris Travel Resources
To help with your Paris trip inspiration and planning, you might be interested in some of these articles:
- the best streets in Paris by arrondissement
- if you love pretty parks and hidden gardens you’ll want to know where to find them in Paris
- where to find the secret covered passages throughout Paris
- one of Paris’ favourite neighbourhoods and what to do in Le Marais in the 3rd and 4th arrondissements
- how to make the most of your visit to Jardin du Luxembourg in the 6th arrondissement
- escape to one of two islands in Paris – Ile Saint-Louis in the 4th arrondissement
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As a holidaymaker
Exploring the chic neighborhood of Saint Germain in the 6th arrondissement of Paris is a must. Take a stroll through Luxembourg Garden, sit and dine at a historic café, and get lost in some of its pretty streets.