Paris’ 6th arrondissement is a special little corner of the city. Yes, it does have a touristy side (hi, Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore), but it’s also just the classic Paris you envision when you think of the city. Picture-perfect buildings, florists with flowers spilling onto the sidewalks, grandeur and art somehow seamlessly weaving into daily life. That’s the Paris I live for—and this is my guide to Paris’ 6th arrondissement, from Saint Germain des Près to Odéon and Saint Sulpice. I’d often walk through it—either to language classes or to get to a friend’s apartment in the 5th, and so familiarized myself.
After quarantine, the first thing I did when I got back to Paris was take a mighty long stroll through the 6th. It was the warm kind of day that says spring is over and summer is on the cusp of arrival; the air was sticky and just a tad heavy. The sky was a baby-blue and the sun bright as I hurried along, late, whizzing past the most dazzlingly pink geraniums hanging in abundant glory. Telling myself I didn’t have time, I continued on, before arriving at the next street corner, turning around, eying them, sending an apology text to my friend for my extra lateness, and doubling back. Here’s the result, and more, from the first day of what I experienced as “liberation.” A Paris out of quarantine, but timidly taking the first steps.
Visiting the 6th arrondissement in Paris
- Église de Saint Germain des Prés
This is the neighborhood church by Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots. Worth a peek inside as it bears the name of a notable neighborhood!
- Église Saint-Sulpice
This might be my *favorite* cathedral in Paris—more than Notre Dame. It’s unassuming, but inside there are two works by Delacroix waiting to be admired, and you didn’t even have to pay to see it! This is also where the funeral for former president Jacques Chirac was held, so you know it’s a pretty big deal.
- Rue Férou
This tiny street leads from the Luxembourg Gardens to the square in front of Saint Sulpice. It wouldn’t be anything special, except for the fact that French poet Arthur Rimbaud’s poem, “Le Bateau Ivre,” is splashed on the wall. Paris is poetic, what can I say?
- Officine de Bully
This old-fashioned apothecary creates exquisite perfumes—I’m dying to get my hands on the Damask rose scent. Aside from perfumes, they also offer soaps, lotions, and other beautiful accessories.
- Cour du Commerce Saint-André
This is a fun one. Paris has many hidden passageways and this one is right across the street from the Odéon métro, mostly filled with little cafés and restaurants.
Hear me out on this one, even if it wigs you out. (I know I am.) Deyrolle is a storied taxidermy shop dating back to 1831. A handful of people, French and not, have told me it’s a must-see, even if just as a curiosity. It specializes in taxidermy, entomology, a “cabinet des curiosités,” and what they call “pièce d’exception.” I’ll leave it to the website to illustrate it all.
- Théatre de l’Europe
If you enjoy the theatre (but not necessarily musicals), then you must see a show at the Théatre de l’Europe. It’s located right by the Luxembourg Gardens and offers everything from Shakespeare to contemporary playwrights.
- Breizh Café + Treize au Jardin
Two of my favorite places to eat in Paris. The former does traditional Breton buckwheat crêpes, and the latter does good-old-fashioned American dishes, including the BEST carrot cake of your life.
- Luxembourg Gardens
You already know to stop here. Just don’t spend the entire day by the Médicis Fountain. Walk around the WHOLE park—there’s so much beauty to be admired. And when you’re tired, park yourself in one of those iconic green lawn chairs with an ice cream.
- The Red Wheelbarrow
My FAVORITE bookstore in Paris, mostly because I love the owner, Penelope. It has just as much character as Shakespeare and Co. and isn’t nearly as crowded. Plus, you can take your new book a couple doors down to Treize au Jardin and enjoy tea and pastry while you read.
Want more Paris tips? Download my free Paris guide, see my favorite palaces to eat in Paris, or sign up for the free weekly Francophile Travelogue—all things France and travel tips right in your inbox!