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Saint-Germain des Prés in the 6th arrondissement in Paris is the Paris everyone dreams of. Wondering what to do in the 6th arrondissement? This guide to Saint Germain des Pres leads you to all the treasures in this iconic part of Paris.
Wander Saint Germain’s cobbled streets past unique boutiques, famed literary cafés, and tucked-away squares. It is a bit like being on a movie set. Quintessential Paris is found right here in Saint Germain des Prés so stroll to your heart’s content, people watch and feel Paris. You’ll walk away with a smile, knowing that “la vie est belle.”
20 Best Things To Do In The 6th Arrondissement Paris
1. Stop By Eglise Saint Germain des Pres In The 6th Arrondissement In Paris
The chimes of the church bells of Paris’s oldest church can be heard far and wide in the 6th arrondissement of Paris. The St Germain des Prés church, its bell tower standing since 990, is well worth a visit. Its interior columns are painted and the celestial ceiling is dotted with golden stars and angels. It is really rather heavenly. Don’t miss the apse of the church where you’ll find Roman arches.
2. Sit By The Fountains In The Luxembourg Gardens
One of the best things to do in the 6th arrondissement of Paris is to while away some time in everybody’s favourite Paris garden, the Luxembourg Gardens. Sit by the octagonal pond (le Grand Bassin) and watch the children prodding antique sailboats across to the other side. Find the Queens of France statues, a riveting game of pétanque to watch, or pause by the magical Medici Fountain in the 6th arrondissement in Paris.
3. St. Germain des Prés Paris: People Watch From Iconic Cafés
Les Deux Magots
Pick a table on the terrasse and feast your eyes. The people-watching hits an all-time high at Les Deux Magots. It’s the perfect place to sit with a café or a glass of wine and imagine literary giants like Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre and Ernest Hemingway gathered right at your table. Les Deux Magots is definitely touristy but oh, so worth a stop.
Café de Flore
Right next door to Les Deux Magots is Café de Flore. Another iconic literary café in the 6th arrondissement in Paris where the tourists line up in droves. Go on a weekend morning for a croissant and coffee and watch the locals. They love this café too. It’s also the perfect place for an apéro with a side order of people watching.
4. Visit Museums In The 6th Arrondissement In Paris
While strolling through the Luxembourg Gardens, stop by and visit France’s oldest public museum, the Musée du Luxembourg. The museum opened around 1750 and the paintings originally displayed now can be found at the Louvre. The Luxembourg Museum does not have a permanent collection but has wonderful temporary art exhibitions.
Just outside the museum is Angelina’s Paris where drinking luxuriant hot chocolate in the 6th arrondissement in Paris can be the highlight of the day!
Find this museum in Saint Germain des Prés Paris at 19 rue de Vaugirard.
Visit their site here.
Eugène Delacroix Museum In The 6th Arrondissement In Paris
Eugène Delacroix, leader of the French Romantic movement, lived in the 6th arrondissement in Paris. Step through the large doorways on Place de Furstenberg into Delacroix’s home and studio. Admire a collection of his paintings and stay awhile in the lovely secluded garden.
Delacroix’s work can also be seen at the Louvre (my favourite is Liberty Leading the People), the Musée d’Orsay, and in Eglise Saint-Sulpice.
Find this museum in St Germain Paris at 6 rue de Furstenberg.
Visit their site here.
Ossip Zadkine, the Russian cubist sculptor, lived in this house for forty years. Throughout this lifetime, Zadkine produced sculptures in clay, stone, bronze, and wood. The museum is dedicated to his life and work.
Find this museum in the 6th arrondissement of Paris at 100 bis, rue d’Assas
Visit the site for Musée Atelier Zadkine.
5. The 6th Arrondissement In Paris: Linger On The Pont des Arts
The 6th arrondissement in Paris boasts the stunning Pont des Arts which links the Institute of France and the Louvre. This pedestrian bridge with its glimpse of the Eiffel Tower, houseboats, and Ile de la Cite is not to be missed. Stand awhile on the Pont des Arts and watch Parisian life unfold. Artists sketching. Photoshoots. Movie Scenes. Lovers entangled. Musicians giving it their all. It is quintessential Paris.
Pont des Arts, also known as the lovelock bridge, was the place for making a gesture of romantic love in Paris. Buy a lock, attach it to the panels on the Pont des Arts, and throw the key into the Seine. A declaration of everlasting love.
The locks, attached by the hundreds of thousands, became so heavy that the bridge railings started collapsing under their weight. Pont des Arts already had to be closed and rebuilt between 1979 and 1984; thus, the lovelock tradition came to an abrupt halt in 2015, and the metal panels were replaced by plexiglass.
There are many places in Paris where lovelocks can be bought and attached but not here on the famous bridge in the 6th arrondissement.
6. National School Of Fine Arts – Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Beaux Arts
The National School of Fine Arts, founded in 1671, with its busts standing guard is eye-catching. I walked past it on my way to a friend’s apartment a million times during confinement, determined to enter and see what was hiding behind the gate of this prestigious art school in the 6th arrondissement in Paris.
However, it is not open to the general public. Unless there is an exhibition.
Check for an exhibition because what lies behind the gate is a true treasure of Paris. Two treasures I discovered were a tranquil garden situated in an ancient cloister and the most magnificent of Art Nouveau exhibition halls lined with Roman statues.
Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Beaux Arts, 14 rue Bonaparte, St Germain des Prés
7. See A Show At Odéon-Théâtre de l’Europe
In between the Saint Sulpice Church and the Luxembourg Gardens pass by the semi-circular Place de l’Odéon where the oldest theatre monument in Europe still in operation stands. The elegant historical monument with its classical columns still has performances from Tuesdays through Sundays.
2 rue Corneille, 75006 Paris
8. Admire Place du Furstenberg
Tucked away in the 6th arrondissement in Paris is the most charming Place du Furstenberg. It’s literally perfect Paris with its lone elegant lamp post stealing the show in the centre. Stunning storefronts with their awnings and white shutters add to the ambience. Stroll through Place du Furstenberg and smile. You’re in Paris!
9. Read Rimbaud On rue Férou In The 6th Arrondissement In Paris
Who doesn’t like a poem written on a wall in elegant calligraphy? In the 6th arrondissement on rue Férou between L’Église Saint-Sulpice and the Jardin du Luxembourg, Arthur Rimbaud’s poem Le Bateau Ivre (The Drunken Boat) is inscribed for all to see. Rimbaud, a French poet, wrote this poem about a sea voyage in 1871 at the age of 16. He first recited Le Bateau Ivre in a café close to rue Férou.
10. Dine at Le Polidor In The 6th Arrondissement In Paris
Having a meal at Le Polidor had been on my list for a while. Dining with the ghosts of Arthur Rimbaud, Victor Hugo and Ernest Hemingway is always a delight. But I also love the movie Midnight in Paris by Woody Allen. And here at the Polidor in the 6th arrondissement in Paris, Owen Wilson meets Ernest Hemingway.
Needless to say, the Polidor was founded in 1845 and makes for a great dining experience. Communal tables and classic French favourites are enjoyed in a charming ambience. Plus, you never know who you’ll meet at Le Polidor!
Restaurant Polidor, 41 rue Monsieur le Prince, 75006 Paris
11. Explore Eglise Saint-Sulpice In St Germain Paris
Eglise Saint-Sulpice, the second largest church in Paris after Notre Dame Cathedral, holds its fair share of treasures. Stand before Saint Sulpice and admire her soaring mismatched towers. As you enter the church bathed in light stop by the Chapel of Angels, the first chapel on the right. Here you will find three masterpieces of Eugène Delacroix. The murals of Jacob Wrestling with the Angel and Heliodorus being driven From the Temple face each other and be sure to look up at the canvas on the ceiling for Saint Michael Slaying the Dragon.
Saint-Sulpice Church has one of the finest and largest organs in the world. It’s been accompanying services of all sorts since 1781. I can attest to its marvellous sound as I attended the Christmas Eve service in 2021.
Be sure to find the gnomon of Saint-Sulpice, an ancient astrological instrument a bit like a sundial. Since 1727, the tall, white marble obelisk, a thin brass line on the floor of Eglise Saint-Sulpice, and a lens set in the stained glass window of the south transept all worked together to calculate the spring equinox and thus the date of Easter.
Dan Brown, in his novel The Da Vinci Code. referred to this brass meridian on the floor as the “Paris Meridian” or the “Rose Line.” It was great fiction and drew a lot of tourists to Saint-Sulpice Church in the 6th arrondissement in Paris.
12. Be Mesmerized By The Fountain of The Four Bishops
Stop under the chestnut trees by this elegant Renaissance fountain in front of Saint-Sulpice Church. Known as both the Saint Sulpice Fountain and the Fountain of the Four Bishops, it is 12 metres (40 feet) high with water cascading down stacked octagonal basins.
Four lions, looking rather ferocious, sit at the base of the fountain as if guarding it, each holding a Paris coat of arms between its paws. On each side of the fountain is a niche where a bishop sits, each carved by a different sculptor.
13. Savour Poilâne’s World-Famous Bread In Saint-Germain
The famous Poilâne bakery was started in 1932 by Pierre Poilâne. His granddaughter, Apollonia, carries on the family tradition of baking their famous round sourdough loaves with the letter “P” etched on top. Elegant and so delicious. Ask for what you need. At their storefront in the 6th arrondissement in Paris, they will happily sell you just a few slices of a loaf.
Don’t miss their well-loved “chausson aux pommes” (apple turnovers). Melt in your mouth delicious, especially when warm!
Apollonia shares the secrets of the world-famous bakery here.
Find Poilâne at 8 rue du Cherche-Midi, 75006 Paris
14. Partake In A Gourmet Meal At Ferrandi Cooking School
Ferrandi Cooking School, found in the 6th arrondissement in Paris, is a world-renowned cooking establishment. There are two dining rooms where the chefs and servers practice their skills. Read my full article on the experience of having a nine-course déjeuner at Ferrandi. It’s an unforgettable gastronomic delight in Saint-Germain Paris.
15. Hum A Tune By Charles Aznavour In The 6th Arrondissement In Paris
Do you know Charles Aznavour? This famous French singer and songwriter was born in Paris on May 22, 1924, to immigrant parents of Armenian descent. A prolific singer, with more than 1200 songs to his name, he is a household name in France.
On the anniversary of his birthdate in 2021, a bust of Charles Aznavour was unveiled in Saint-Germain Paris. Perhaps you’ll find yourself humming “La Bohème” or “She,” two of his lengthy list of famous tunes as you stroll the charming streets of the 6th arrondissment in Paris.
16. Saint-Germain des Prés: Dine At Le Procope
Here in the 6th arrondissement in Paris is the oldest café in Paris. Le Procope, found at 13 rue de l’Ancienne Comédie, has been around since 1686 welcoming intellectuals, writers such as Voltaire, and regular Parisians. A brasserie with a traditional French menu, step into the magic of le Procope and enjoy a “téte de veau en cocotte”served just as it was in 1686!
Be sure to check out their reasonable set menu for lunch (noon-7 pm).
17. Peruse Art And Antique Boutiques In Saint-Germain des Prés
Saint-Germain des Prés is fantastic for perusing. Slow down. Stroll. If you are an art lover, wander down rue des Beaux-Arts and rue de Seine and gaze at the marvellous window displays. Don’t be surprised if you walk away with a little art treasure from the 6th arrondissement in Paris!
18. Shop At Le Bon Marché
Le Bon Marché, the classiest of Paris’s department stores, is in the 7th arrondissement and still part of Saint-Germain des Prés! I love browsing their upscale and quality range of products. Hit up Le Bon Marché during “les soldes” (the sales) in January and June for incredible deals.
19. Have A Drink On rue du Buci
Rue du Buci just bumps. Head over at lunch or catch the after-work crowd and the activity level sizzles. Pop into one of the many cafés, lose yourself in the unique Taschen bookstore, and definitely have a drink at the Maison Sauvage. With flowers cascading down the outer walls of this restaurant, it’s easy to find. Sit back and soak up the Paris buzz in the 6th arrondissement in Paris.
20. The Best Thing To Do In The 6th Arrondissement: Flâner
The best way to feel Paris is to flâner. Slow down. Stroll. Wander. Turn in the opposite direction from the crowd. Observe. Read the plaques. Smell the roses.
The 6th arrondissement in Paris is so delightful and ripe for exploring. Pretend you are on that movie set. Don your beret and go! “Hop! Hop! Hop!” as the French would say. But, don’t pronounce the “h!”
I hope you enjoy uncovering Saint-Germain des Prés Paris as much as I have.
Until next time,
More Paris Info…
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Ile de la Cité: My guide to 17 best things to see and do.
Montmartre: Here are 20 things to do in Montmartre Paris. Which will you add to your list of exploring this charming part of Paris?
Montparnasse: There is much more to this area than the Catacombs and the Tower
La Butte aux Cailles: Looking for Off the Beaten Path Paris… here it is..
Ile Saint-Louis: the small island in Paris tucked in behind Notre Dame Cathedral.
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