Want to explore a chic, yet quintessential Paris neighbourhood? The 6th arrondissement, also known as Saint-Germain-des-Prés, is a must-see when in Paris. This area of 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 is best known for its historic café culture, it’s where many iconic writers and artists lived and worked during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Here’s your guide to the best things to see, do, eat and stay in the 6th arrondissement in Paris. 

Must See Sites in the 6th Arrondissement

Saint Germain Des Pres

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. Visit in late November where the Saint-Germain-des-Prés Christmas Market takes place in the square directly in front of this historic building.

Jardin du Luxembourg

One of the most beautiful parks in Paris lies 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 Musée du Luxembourg and the beautiful Fountaine de Médicis are also a must see while in Luxembourg Gardens. 

Read more | Before visiting, check out our guide to Jardin du Luxembourg

Saint Sulpice

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. 

stone fountain and church

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. 

RELATED READING: Check out this guide to finding the prettiest parks and hidden gardens in Paris (and, yes there are some more tips for the 6th arrondissement)

Top Things to Do in the 6th Arrondissement

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. It might be a wee bit more pricey and touristy than other cafes, but the novelty of dining here is worth it.  

croissant, coffee at bistro table
Address: 6 Place Saint-Germain-des-Prés

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. 

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. Next door is one of the city’s most famous food stores, La Grande Epicerie, which is a must for all foodies and lovers of home décor. 

escalator in paris mall
Address: 24 Rue de Sèvres

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. 

The Bridges of Saint Germain

Pont Des Arts

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. 

bridge in paris with boat

Pont Saint-Michel

Pont Saint-Michel is a stone bridge, first constructed in 1378, and rebuilt several times, most recently in  1857. The Point Saint Michel links the Palais de Justice on the Ile de la Cité to the Place Saint-Michel and its fountain. This bridge also bears the capital letter N, the imperial insignia of Napoleon III.

bridge with seine

Pont Neuf

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. 

Best Streets in 6th Arrondissement

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.

bike street restaurants in 6th arrondissement in Paris

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.

Related reading | Check out our Guide to the Must-See Streets in Paris Perfect for Strolling

Best Restaurants in Saint Germain

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: 

cafe with red awning

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 Places to Stay in Saint Germain

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.

  1. Voyage of the Beagle – tiny in size, but big in style this 1-bedroom is the perfect pied-à-terre  €
  2. Scented Rose Petals – a pretty studio with lovely romantic feminine touches perfect for the female solo traveller or couple  €
  3. Charming Touron – 1-bedroom with original charm Parisian charm with its beamed ceiling  €
  4. The Grey Strips – a 2-bedroom open concept space with a beamed ceiling and large windows for light to pour in  €
  5. The Lodge – a gorgeous 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom apartment close to Jardin du Luxembourg is stylized in modern Provencal décor  €€€
  6. Assas II – a light, small 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom family-friendly apartment close to Jardin du Luxembourg  €€€€€

Tip | You can continue to do your own search, click here for the best apartment rentals in Saint Germain. Or, if you prefer to stay in a hotel, use Booking.com to search for some of the best hotels in Paris. 

As a holidaymaker…

Exploring the chic neighborhood of Saint Germain in the 6th arrondissement 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.

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59 Comments

  1. It’s a great and inspirational article! I love Paris and the less popular places to relax. One of my favorites is the Jardin du Luxembourg. Also, I like taking pictures of bridges, especially at night. Next time I will follow your tips and stop at a café at Les Deux Magots. Also, I hope to visit restaurants mentioned by you like Le Bistrot d’Henri and Semilla.

  2. Your post really makes me longing for Paris. Yes, the 6eme arrondissement is certainly the most charming one – and the epitome of Parisian life. I love the Jardin du Luxembourg – sitting on those uncomfortable iron-cast chairs, watching people…just lovely. Also, the cobblestone alleys are just so lovely. Yes, your post definitely makes me want to go back.

  3. I was unfamiliar with the 6th Arrondissement in Paris. It seems such a lovely place to explore that I have decided not to miss it when traveling to Paris.

  4. The Jardin du Luxembourg is my absolute favorite of Paris’ gardens. We make time to have a picnic there on every trip. Somehow it has a less-touristy feel, with moms pushing baby strollers, joggers, families sailing little boats on the lake..

  5. This is exactly how I want to spend my vacation in Paris. I am looking forward to shop and de. I heard great reviews about Allard and we look forward to visiting. Thank you for all the tips and recommendations. This is really helpful.

  6. It looks like a place for a slow travel. Enjoy the Jardin du Lexembourg, sit and relax while people watching. Try different restaurants and cafes. And the hotel rooms look really nice. I think I will love this area.

      1. Paris is a charming place away from typical touristy attractions. I’m glad that you managed to visit these places. I haven’t heard of Saint Germain des Pres so far. Interesting find. One of the oldest church you say, I’m gonna note it for my next visit. The word Saint Sulpice immediately reminded me of Da Vinci Code! But I haven’t visited here either. Gotta do another quick day trip just to explore 6th Arrondissement…

  7. It should come as no surprise that this Parisian neighborhood will astonish me. The oldest church, cafe, department store, and standing bridge got me. This place has so much history! I want to go for a walk around their lovely streets and parks and give it a try to some of their delectable foods and beverages.

  8. I’ve never heard of the 6th arrondissement before, but would love to have breakfast where Julia Child did. I love sitting in historic places and just embracing the history of the area. It’s so impressive to think who passed through the same doors! Very cool.

  9. Enjoyed your blog about this romantic city! I have visited Paris many years ago when all we did was tick off attractions. I really want to visit Paris again and explore unique areas like 6th arrondissement at leisure sipping coffee and tasting the french cuisine at the best restaurants. Your images are stunning! 🙂

  10. For me, one of the best things about travel is just to explore the neighbourhoods & the 6th Arrondissement sounds like a perfect one to spend time in. You’ve also reminded me that it’s a long time since I visited Paris & bearing in mind I can get a train directly there from home, maybe it’s time I returned!

  11. Love all of the cute and quaint little things to do in this area. I also love the history aspect, it’s so cool to think about how some of these areas and buildings are older than the USA!

  12. I haven’t yet made it to Paris but it’s high on my list so I’m very interested in your suggestions & the 6th Arrondissement sounds like a great place to explore. I’ll save this for later!

  13. Ah, Paris! Your article makes me want to jump on a plane and visit right now. I’ve stayed in the 5th and walked through the 6th, but I see I have much more to explore in this historic area. One of my favorite Paris places is Luxembourg Gardens. Now I need to walk beyond that and see the rest of the 6th. Pinned your post for travel planning!

  14. This is such a great article! I have been to Paris so many times, yet I found something new for myself, well done ❤️ Jardin du Luxembourg is such a gem of Paris! When it’s sunny, it gives me fairytale vibes

  15. I am planning a visit to Paris soon – taking advantage of lesser tourists, I hope. I already thought about basing myself in the 6th arrondisment. Your blogpost just confirmed this thoughts. It seems to be a perfect place for relaxed breakfasts and extended evening strolls.

  16. Paris is such a fascinating city with its architecture, gardens, Louvre, churches and of course Eiffel. Although we spent 3 days there last time, due to tremedous rainfall there is so much more to explore. The 6th arrondissement is such a beautiful area but am afraid we could’t spend enough time there walking around and witnessing all the marvelous attractions. A reason to be back.

  17. I absolutely love Paris, it’s so dreamy and there is always something beautiful around each corner. This guide definitely makes me want to go back and visit again

  18. Oh man this blog makes me want to go back to Paris right now! I dream of sitting at one of the cafes sipping on a coffee and eating a croissant while people watching on the street. Thank you so much for giving great details about the 6th Arrondissement. I especially want to go to Point Neuf, looks gorgeous.

  19. I can see myself falling in love with this part of Paris. It has everything that I would be interested in on my travels: an extensive coffee and cafe culture nestled amongst beautiful buildings. The cultural touch and that this part of Paris has many connections to artists and wintellectuals makes it even more appealing to me.

    Carolin | Solo Travel Story

  20. I love that there is such history here. One of Paris’ oldest churches, the oldest department store and the oldest coffee shop really grabbed my attention. I would love to stroll along its pavements and pop inside all three on the way. I have crossed the Pont Neuf but never realised these treasures were so close by. Time for a return visit I think!

    1. I love the Saint Germain area, there are so many lovely little bakeries and cafes. And Saint Sulpice is so pretty. I need to explore more around here though, maybe I’ll make that my base on a future Paris visit

  21. Paris is such a dreamy city and wandering the streets, just admiring the archutectural styles is fascinating enough for me. The 6th definitely has some architectural beauties and is a very affluent area of the city.
    I really didn’t know that Saint Sulpice was the second biggest Church in Paris. I’ve seen many Pariaian churches but never seen that one in real life. I would have got there if I had known!
    Cafe de Flore and Les Deux Magots sound wonderful, just my type of place to have coffee and watch the world go by.
    I do remember crossing the Ponts des Arts and seeing the padlocks on the fencing (that was many years ago however). It is a phenomena that I have seen repeated/copied round the world many times now.
    Your pics capture the esseance of the area well – they make me want to book up and get back there again as it has been a while since I explored Paris.

    1. So happy to hear Barry that this article inspired you to return to the City of Light one day soon. The love locks have since been removed from Pont des Arts bridge due to the damage, but you definitely do see them on some parts of the bridge still. A tradition that was made famous here and now appears worldwide.

  22. The 6th arrondissement is home to some of the most famous attractions in Paris. That’s where we usually stay when we go to Paris. Jardin du Luxembourg is my most favorite garden in Paris. I find it very romantic. As for Café Procope, it holds a very special place in my heart. We celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary, so I’ll never forget it.

  23. My husband and I spent three wonderful days in the sixth arrondissement. We loved walking through the gardens and choosing different cafes for lunches and dinners. It rained a lot so we sought refuge in Le Bon Marche and boutique shops. We even found a specialty market and bought food to cook our own meal one night. The best part was the walking tour of Paris’ best chocolateries!

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