What to see in the Sixth Arrondissement of Paris?

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Welcome to the Sixth Arrondissement, arguably the most popular with tourists! Situated on the Left Blank, “le Sixième” includes the upmarket neighbourhood of Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Luxembourg Garden, one of Paris’ most beautiful parks.

 

A few words about the 6th arrondissement

Sixth arrondissement of Paris © ThePromenader - licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

6th arrondissement of Paris © ThePromenader – licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Between the 5th and 7th arrondissements, the Sixth arrondissement of Paris (le sixième arrondissement) is situated on the left bank of River Seine. It includes the upmarket neighbourhood of Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the garden of Luxembourg.

The sixth arrondissement is in a way the epicentre of religious and intellectual thought in Paris.

The territory corresponding to the current 6th arrondissement has its origins in the establishment of the abbey of Saint-Germain des Prés, at the dawn of the Middle Ages.

Since this founding act, it has never ceased to attract learned and innovative minds and has witnessed many events of historical significance.

Place Saint-Germain-des-Prés © French Moments

Place Saint-Germain-des-Prés © French Moments

The 4 districts of the 6th arrondissement

Districts of the 6th arrt © Paris 16 - licence [CC BY-SA 4.0] from Wikimedia Commons

The 4 districts of the 6th arrt © Paris 16 – licence [CC BY-SA 4.0] from Wikimedia Commons

The 6th arrondissement is composed of four districts:

  • The Monnaie district has two facets. Along the Seine, the Institut de France attracts the greatest minds. In the background, in the maze of picturesque streets, tourists invade the streets and courtyards.
  • The Odeon district is a place of power and leisure. It extends the Sainte-Geneviève Hill to the west. The Senate, a royal palace with a superb garden, provides a green setting for the Schools of Mines and Pharmacy, the Institute of Art and Archaeology, as well as countless educational institutions. Around Saint-Sulpice are concentrated publishing houses and bookstores.
  • The Notre-Dame-des-Champs district is located around the former parish of Saint-Sulpice. It is here that teachers and artists traditionally reside. The district is commercial on the main roads but residential and student in the blocks where schools and congregations multiply.
  • The Saint-Germain-des-Prés district is renowned for being a showcase for haute couture. Not far from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, a few meters from the Faculty of Medicine, opposite Lipp, around the Deux-Magots and the Flore, the post-war existentialist movements and the events of 1968 developed.
Place Saint-Germain-des-Prés © French Moments

Place Saint-Germain-des-Prés © French Moments

The 6th arrondissement: facts and figures

The Sixth arrondissement of Paris covers an area of 2.15 km2 with a population of 41,976 (2017). 

It is one of the most expensive real estate areas of Paris and one of the richest in terms of average income.

By contrast with the 7th, 8th, 16th arrondissements and Neuilly, the neighbourhood of Saint-Germain-des-Prés has a much more bohemian and intellectual reputation.

Saint-Germain-des-Pres 2 copyright French Moments

In the 6th arrondissement © French Moments

The arrondissement of Saint-Germain-des-Prés

Saint-Germain-des-Prés refers to French intelligentsia and is well known for:

  • its plethora of art galleries,
  • its café culture (Deux-Magots, Flore),
  • the revolutionary intellectualism (Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir),
  • French literature (Paul Éluard, Boris Vian, Albert Camus, Françoise Sagan),
  • and New Orleans Jazz and Be Bop music (Sidney Bechet, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington)…
Place Saint-Germain-des-Prés in 1965 © Willem van de Poll - licence [CC0] from Wikimedia Commons

Place Saint-Germain-des-Prés in 1965 © Willem van de Poll – licence [CC0] from Wikimedia Commons

The 6th arrt. includes some famous Parisian landmarks such as:

  • the church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés,
  • the Saint-Sulpice church,
  • the Institut de France,
  • the Senate (Palace of Luxembourg),
  • and the garden of Luxembourg.
Jardin du Luxembourg circa 1900 - Séeberger frères : Centre des monuments nationaux

Jardin du Luxembourg circa 1900 – Séeberger frères : Centre des monuments nationaux


Where to stay in the 6th arrondissement?

Hotels in Paris vary from stunning luxurious places like the Ritz and the Meurice to much simpler hotels in charming older parts of the city. However, due to its central location, you will find the level of prices of all types of accommodation quite high in the 6th arrt. Depending on your budget, might want to find cheaper accommodation further away from the hyper centre of Paris!

Best places to stay in Paris

One of the best places to stay in Paris: Citadines Saint-Germain-des-Prés

Click on this link for a list of accommodation in the 6th arrondissement or browse the map below:



Booking.com


Public institutions and organisations in the 6th arrondissement

 A few public institutions and organisations have their seat in the 6th arrt:

  • the Senate (“Le Sénat”, which seats at the Palace of Luxembourg. This is the upper house of the parliament)
Palais du Luxembourg © French Moments

Palais du Luxembourg © French Moments

  • the Académie Française (seats at the Institut de France)
Institut de France Paris

The Institut de France, Paris © French Moments

  • the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts (Fine Arts school)
National School of Fine Arts in Paris © French Moments

National School of Fine Arts in Paris © French Moments


Shopping in the 6th. arrt.

To go shopping in the 6th arrondissement, it is better to have a well-filled wallet, even if you can also find great brands at affordable prices, such as FNAC, Sephora or H&M.

The shopping arteries of the district are :

  • Boulevard Saint Germain and the surrounding streets, with the boutiques of the great designers: Sonia Rykiel, Gérard Darel, Giorgio Armani, Christian Dior, but also Ralph Lauren, A.P.C., Carven, Vicomte A. and finally, for bags, Jérôme Dreyfuss. The designer Karl Lagerfeld has a boutique at 194 Boulevard Saint Germain.
  • Rue de Rennes, with FNAC, Sephora, Kookaï, Étam, Gap and H&M stores.
  • In the Rue Saint Placide, you will find branded stock stores where products are sold at lower prices (Fiancée du Mékong, Du Pareil au même or Jonak).
  • You will find two good markets in the 6th arrondissement: the small covered market of Saint-Germain and the famous Raspail market, an outdoor organic market.
  • For gourmet streets, try the streets around the covered market (rue Clément, Rue Lobineau, rue Guisarde), rue du Cherche-Midi, and rue de Buci.
Sixth arrondissement of Paris - Rue de Buci © French Moments

Rue de Buci, Paris © French Moments

The cafés of Saint-Germain-des-Prés

The restaurants, brasseries and literary cafés of Saint-Germain-des-Prés have shaped the legend of this neighbourhood, which was the centre of the world of ideas in the 20th century. Even if these establishments of the Left Bank are true Parisian institutions, prestigious and very touristy, they have kept their soul over the years.

Find out more about the famous cafés of Saint-Germain-des-Prés…

Saint-Germain-des-Pres 6 copyright French Moments

Café de Flore, Saint-Germain-des-Prés © French Moments


Places of interest in the 6th arrt.

Let’s discover the main sites of this old quarter, as famous for its beautiful church as for its narrow streets of antique shops, cafés and nightlife.

Churches in the 6th arrondissement

The 6th arrondissement includes some of Paris’ most famous churches:

Church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés

The old Romanesque abbey church dates from the 11th century. The church is partly Romanesque (bell tower, nave, transept), partly Gothic (choir, ambulatory and chapels).

The bell-tower of Saint-Germain-des-Prés © French Moments

The bell-tower of Saint-Germain-des-Prés © French Moments

After the damages caused by the Revolution, the church was repaired and restored (1819-1823). Of the three bell towers that topped it, only the massive tower of the façade remains. The bell tower is one of the oldest in France.

Saint-Germain-des-Près church © French Moments

Saint-Germain-des-Près church © French Moments

Church of Saint-Sulpice

The church was founded by the abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés to serve as a parish for the peasants of its domain.

Rebuilt several times, the church was enlarged in the 16th and 17th centuries. Its beautiful antique façade dates from the 18th century.

The church has impressive dimensions, 56 meters long and a height of the vaults of 32 meters, which makes it one of the largest sanctuaries in Paris.

Tour Montparnasse - Saint-Sulpice church © French Moments

Saint-Sulpice church © French Moments

Other places of Interest

The main places of interest in the 6th arrondissement are:

Place de Furstemberg © French Moments

Place de Furstemberg © French Moments

Cour du Commerce Saint-André © French Moments

Cour du Commerce Saint-André © French Moments

The St Sulpice towers © French Moments

The St Sulpice towers © French Moments

Jardin du Luxembourg © French Moments

Jardin du Luxembourg © French Moments

Jardin du Luxembourg © French Moments

Jardin du Luxembourg © French Moments

Saint-Michel Fountain

The Saint-Michel Fountain © French Moments

Odéon Theatre Paris © French Moments

Odéon Theatre Paris © French Moments

Corner Rue de Furstemberg - Rue de l'Abbaye © French Moments

Corner Rue de Furstemberg – Rue de l’Abbaye © French Moments

Sixth arrondissement - Rue Grégoire de Tours © French Moments

Rue Grégoire de Tours © French Moments

Place Saint-André-des-Arts © French Moments

Place Saint-André-des-Arts © French Moments

Pin it for later!

6th arrondissement of Paris Pinterest © French Moments


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About Author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of the Discovery Course on the Secrets of the Eiffel Tower and the Christmas book "Voyage au Pays de Noël".

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