Guide Tour of the 6th arrondissement of Paris, France

The 6th arrondissement of Paris, also known as the arrondissement of Luxembourg, is one of the 20 arrondissements of the capital city of France. The 6th arrondissement, and particularly the Saint-Germain-des-Prés district, represents the heart of Parisian elegance and refinement, combining grandiose architecture, imposing and old houses, verdant terraces and the picturesque Luxembourg garden. This is where the famous fashion boutiques, secret inner courtyards and literary cafes are.

The 6th arrondissement is situated on the Rive Gauche of the River Seine. The current 6th arrondissement, dominated by the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés—founded in the 6th century—was the heart of the Catholic Church’s power in Paris for centuries, hosting many religious institutions. It includes educational institutions such as the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, the École des hautes études en sciences sociales and the Institut de France, as well as Parisian monuments such as the Odéon-Théâtre de l’Europe, the Pont des Arts, which links the 1st and 6th arrondissements over the Seine, Saint-Germain Abbey and Saint-Sulpice Church.

It’s a real delight to living here, right next to the garden with its stone fountains, its budding idylls, its ornate busts and statues. It is home to the tourist district of Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Luxembourg Gardens, where the Senate is also located. Along narrow streets which shelter sumptuous bourgeois houses adorned with funny faces and arcades, there is the picturesque “place Furstemberg”, which was part of the famous monastery of “Saint-Germain-des-Prés”.

With its cityscape, intellectual tradition, history, architecture, and central location, the arrondissement has long been home to French intelligentsia. The 6th arrondissement, one of the most romantic and appealing areas of Paris, for many years now the 6ème has been home to artists, writers, designers, intellectuals and the chicest of the chic.

This central arrondissement has played a major role throughout Paris history and is well known for its café culture and the revolutionary intellectualism (existentialism, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir) and literature (Paul Éluard, Boris Vian, Albert Camus, Françoise Sagan) it has hosted. It is a major locale for art galleries and fashion stores.

The 6th arrondissement is superlatives itself, as the wealthiest and most expensive arrondissement in Paris. The arrondissement is one of France’s richest district in terms of average income. There’s a bit of everything here, from the busy sidewalks of Paris’ main art Gallery scene to the expansive green spaces and under-tree cafés of the Jardin du Luxembourg, from the impossible elegance and charm of the rue Bonaparte to the bohemian allure of the Latin Quarter, from the huddle of ‘steak/frites’ joints around Place St. Michel to some of the finest restaurants in the world.

Administrative districts
The 6th arrondissement of Paris is divided into four administrative districts: La Monnaie district, Odéon district, Notre Dame des Champs district and Saint Germain des Prés district.

Quartier of Monnaie
The Monnaie district is the 21st administrative district of Paris, located in the 6th arrondissement. The Monnaie district is one of the four administrative districts of the 6th arrondissement of Paris. Located in the northeast of the arrondissement, it runs along the Seine and faces, in part, the Île de la Cité to which it is connected by the Pont-Neuf.

Quartier of Odéon
The Odéon district is the 22nd administrative district of Paris located in the 6th arrondissement, north of the Luxembourg Gardens. Proximity to the Odeon theatre, the named referring to the ancient meaning of the word: a place intended for songs and, more generally, a Greco-Roman theatre. The statue that stands in the middle of Place Henri-Mondor is that of Danton, which is not far from the man’s former home and the place of his arrest during the Revolution.

Quartier of Notre-Dame-des-Champs
The Notre-Dame-des-Champs district is the 23rd administrative district of Paris located in the 6th arrondissement. It takes its name from the rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs, whose very old layout goes from the rue de Rennes, near the Saint-Placide station, to Port-Royal where it joins the southern end of the boulevard Saint- Michael.

Quartier of Saint-Germain-des-Pres
The Saint-Germain-des-Prés district is the 24th administrative district of Paris located in the 6th arrondissement. A small agglomeration gradually formed around the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés around 558; it is located as its name indicates outside the agglomeration in the Middle Ages. The town of Saint-Germain was formed in the 12th century and then had around 600 inhabitants. The parish of this town was the Saint-Pierre church, on the site of the current Saint-Vladimir-le-Grand cathedral. The stone buildings were built around the year 1000, at the time of the splendor and the intense intellectual of the abbey which is constantly growing.

Main Attractions
Priceless heritage, emblematic garden, intimate museums, good restaurants and craft shops, the 6th arrondissement attracts lovers of a Parisian way of life. The outstanding Luxembourg Palace surrounded by extensive royal gardens, turned the neighborhood into a fashionable district for French nobility.

The boulevards, the pretty perspectives and the charming alleys of the 6th arrondissement concentrate treasures of Parisian heritage, among which one can admire the Saint-Germain-des-Prés square and its church with Romanesque architecture, the Saint Sulpice church decorated with paintings by ‘Eugène Delacroix and the Odéon Théâtre de l’Europe recognizable by its colonnaded façade.

Between designer boutiques, gourmet addresses and bookstores, neighborhood businesses are an integral part of life in the borough, Some shops have been established there for several centuries. Cluture can also be found in the open air in its streets and walls. The fresco on rue Férou takes up Arthur Rimbaud’s poem Le Bateau Ivre in its entirety over an area of 300 m².

Luxembourg Palace
The Luxembourg Palace is at 15 Rue de Vaugirard in the 6th arrondissement of Paris. It has been home to the Senate of the Fifth Republic since its establishment in 1958. It was originally built (1615–1645) to the designs of the French architect Salomon de Brosse to be the royal residence of the regent Marie de’ Medici, mother of King Louis XIII. After the Revolution it was refashioned (1799–1805) by Jean Chalgrin into a legislative building and subsequently greatly enlarged and remodeled (1835–1856) by Alphonse de Gisors.

Immediately west of the palace on the Rue de Vaugirard is the Petit Luxembourg, now the residence of the Senate President; and slightly further west, the Musée du Luxembourg, in the former orangery. On the south side of the palace, the formal Luxembourg Garden presents a 25-hectare (62-acre) green parterre of gravel and lawn populated with statues and large basins of water where children sail model boats.

Luxembourg Garden
The Jardin du Luxembourg is a garden open to the public, located in the 6th arrondissement of Paris. Created in 1612 at the request of Marie de Medici to accompany the Luxembourg Palace, it was restored under the direction of the architect Jean-François-Thérèse Chalgrin under the First Empire and now belongs to the domain of the Senate. It extends over 23 hectares decorated with flowerbeds and sculptures, and is known for its lawns, tree-lined promenades, tennis courts, flowerbeds, model sailboats on its octagonal Grand Bassin, as well as picturesque Medici Fountain, built in 1620.

The Luxembourg Gardens are a magnificent green setting particularly appreciated by walkers. The park gives pride of place to nature with its orchard, its orchid greenhouses, its rose garden, its orangery and its apiaries. It is adorned with 106 statues and houses the lovely Medici Fountain. Many sporting or recreational activities are practiced there. In 2022, according to a list of the English-speaking site HouseFresh which has aggregated the opinions of tens of thousands of tourists, it is designated as the most beautiful garden in Europe and the third most beautiful garden in the world, behind the Gardens by the Bay in Singapore. and the Majorelle Garden in Marrakech.

Luxembourg Museum
The Luxembourg Museum is a place of art exhibition installed in a wing built perpendicular to the orangery of the Luxembourg Palace, rue de Vaugirard, in the 6th arrondissement of Paris. Its current vocation is to periodically present thematic and original artistic exhibitions favoring three axes of programming, in connection with the history of the place: “the Renaissance in Europe”, “Art and power” and “the Palace, the Garden and the Museum: Luxembourg in the heart of Paris, capital of the arts”.

The Musée du Luxembourg (French pronunciation: [myze dy Established in 1750, it was initially an art museum located in the east wing of the Luxembourg Palace (the matching west wing housed the Marie de’ Medici cycle by Peter Paul Rubens) and in 1818 became the first museum of contemporary art. In 1884 the museum moved into its current building, the former orangery of the Palace. The museum was taken over by the French Ministry of Culture and the French Senate in 2000, when it began to be used for temporary exhibitions, and became part of the Réunion des Musées Nationaux in 2010.

The Paris Mint
The Hôtel de la Monnaie, located on the Quai de Conti in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, is an 18th century building, a masterpiece of the architect Denis Antoine (1733 – 1801). The building which has housed the Monnaie de Paris (the Paris Mint) since its construction. It is considered a prime example of pre-Revolutionary French Neoclassical architecture.

The building is typified by its heavy external rustication and severe decorative treatment. It boasts one of the longest façades on the Seine; its appearance has been likened to the Italian palazzo tradition. The building, which housed mint workshops, administrative rooms, and residential quarters, wraps around a large interior courtyard. It remains open to the public and includes a numismatics museum, located within what was once the main foundry.

Church of Saint-Sulpice
The Church of Saint-Sulpice is a Roman Catholic church in Paris, France, on the east side of Place Saint-Sulpice, in the Latin Quarter of the 6th arrondissement. It is only slightly smaller than Notre-Dame and thus the second-largest church in the city. It is dedicated to Sulpitius the Pious. Construction of the present building, the second church on the site, began in 1646. During the 18th century, an elaborate gnomon, the Gnomon of Saint-Sulpice, was constructed in the church. The church is the subject of a classification as historical monuments since theMay 20, 1915. Due to the fire at Notre-Dame de Paris on April 15, 2019, the church acts as a diocesan cathedral for major ceremonies.

The church of Saint-Sulpice, oriented in the usual west-east direction, is an imposing building 120 meters long, 57 meters wide, 30 meters high under the central vault; it is the second largest church in Paris after Notre-Dame. The plan and the initial architectural principles of Saint-Sulpice are in fact inspired by certain buildings established by the Jesuits, the design of which was intended to be adapted to the Catholic liturgy reformed by the Council of Trent: “a Latin cross church, with a single nave, confined to communicating chapels and a slightly projecting transept, barrel-vaulted, high windows, cupola at the crossroads, facade with two superimposed orders of unequal width crowned with a pediment”.

Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés
The Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés is a former Benedictine abbey in Paris, located at 3 place Saint-Germain-des -Prés in the current 6th arrondissement. Founded in the middle of the 6th century under the name of Sainte-Croix et Saint-Vincent basilica by the Merovingian king Childebert I and Saint Germain, bishop of Paris. It is a royal abbey, which therefore benefits from an exemption and is directly subject to the pope. The first abbey church was consecrated onApril 23, 558to the Holy Cross and to Saint Vincent of Zaragoza. This basilica has marble columns, a paneled ceiling and glazed windows.

The church was rebuilt by Abbé Morard, from the end of the 10th century. The first four levels of the western bell tower, the nave and the transept of the current church date back to this period, in which one can see in particular interesting capitals from around the year one thousand. The current choir was built in the middle of the 12th century in the primitive Gothic style and consecrated by Pope Alexander III on April 21, 1163. It is one of the first Gothic buildings, which contributes to the diffusion of this new style and is of great importance from an archaeological point of view. The convent buildings were rebuilt successively during the 13th century, and an abbey chapel inspired by the Sainte-Chapelle was built by the architect Pierre de Montreuil and then dedicated to the Virgin; the whole was demolished at the beginning of the 19th century.

Cordeliers Convent
The Couvent des Cordeliers was a convent in Paris, France. It gave its name to the Club of the Cordeliers, which held its first meetings there during the French Revolution. The convent included a chapel, one of the largest in Paris, sometimes called the Church of the Cordeliers of Paris. It was attached to a cloister, one side of which was raised by a building where the theologists of the order met. It overlooked both the cloister and the beautiful garden which stretched behind as far as the college of Harcourt: planted with trees, it offered pleasant paths in arches of greenery. It is in this room that the members of the Musée de Paris meet in rue Dauphine. The building later housed the Dupuytren Museum of anatomy in connection with the school of medicine. This was moved in 2016.

Cultural spaces
Since the 1950s, the 6th arrondissement, with its many higher education institutions, cafés (Café de Flore, Les Deux Magots, La Palette etc.) and publishing houses (Gallimard, Julliard, Grasset etc.) has been the home of much of the major post-war intellectual and literary movements and some of most influential in history such as surrealism, existentialism and modern feminism.

In addition to its major prestigious monuments such as the Institut de France, the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and the Musée de la Monnaie, the 6th also brings together some of the most confidential and fascinating museums in Paris: the Zadkine and Eugène Delacroix museums, former residences and creative workshops of these two renowned artists, the museums of Mineralogy of Paris, of the history of Medicine, of Compagnonnage as well as Mundolingua dedicated to languages, language and linguistics.

Writers looking for inspiration and lovers of fine literature can linger at the Café de Flore, the Closerie des Lilas or the Deux Magots, mythical literary cafés in the 6th arrondissement where Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Guillaume Apollinaire, Pablo Picasso had their habits there…

National School of Overseas France
École nationale de la France d’Outre-Mer was a French grande école, providing training for future colonial administrators. It was situated in Paris, avenue de l’Observatoire, 2. In a beautiful building built in 1895 by the architect Yvon, the civil servants-trainees are divided into two sections: French and foreign. Their studies last 2 or 3 years for the benefit of promotions varying from 11 to 50 students and include lessons in the languages of overseas countries, ethnology, customary law, public and private colonial law.

Institut de France
The Institut de France is a French learned society, grouping five académies, including the Académie Française. It was established in 1795 at the direction of the National Convention. It is placed under the protection of the Head of State and has its headquarters on Quai de Conti, in the 6th arrondissement of Paris.

The building was originally constructed as the Collège des Quatre-Nations by Cardinal Mazarin, as a school for students from new provinces attached to France under Louis XIV. In the 19th century, a wing was added to the second courtyard, connecting the two existing pavilions. It was inaugurated in 1846 and took the name of the architect who designed it, Hippolyte Le Bas. It houses two work session rooms, used for the ordinary sessions of the Academies. The building has been listed as a historical monument since 1862.

It brings together the scientific, literary and artistic elites of the nation so that they work together to perfect the sciences and the arts, to develop independent thinking and to advise the public authorities. This earned it the nickname “Parliament of the learned world”. The Institute manages approximately 1,000 foundations, as well as museums and châteaux open for visit. It also awards prizes and subsidies, which amounted to a total of over €27 million per year in 2017. Most of these prizes are awarded by the Institute on the recommendation of the académies.

Fine Arts of Paris
The Beaux-Arts de Paris is a French grande école whose primary mission is to provide high-level arts education and training. This is classical and historical School of Fine Arts in France. The art school, which is part of the Paris Sciences et Lettres University, is located on two sites: Saint-Germain-des-Prés in Paris, and Saint-Ouen. These fine arts were four in number: painting, sculpture, engraving, with architecture until 1968, when the Minister of Culture André Malraux, created eight teaching units of architecture (UPA).

The Parisian institution is made up of a complex of buildings located at 14 rue Bonaparte, between the quai Malaquais and the rue Bonaparte. This is in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, just across the Seine from the Louvre museum. The school was founded in 1648 by Charles Le Brun as the famed French academy Académie de peinture et de sculpture.

Odeon Theater
The Odéon-Théâtre de l’Europe is one of France’s six national theatres. It is located at 2 rue Corneille in the 6th arrondissement of Paris on the left bank of the Seine, next to the Luxembourg Garden and the Luxembourg Palace, which houses the Senate. Architecturally, it is an Italian-style theater (cubic-shaped stage and semi-circular room) and the exterior is neoclassical in style. It has been classified as a historical monument since October 7, 1947.

Old Colombier Theater
The Théâtre du Vieux-Colombier is a performance hall located at 21, rue du Vieux-Colombier, in the 6th arrondissement of Paris. It was founded in 1913 by the theatre producer and playwright Jacques Copeau. Today it is one of the three theatres in Paris used by the Comédie-Française.

Lucernaire cultural center
Le Lucernaire, National Center for Art and Essays, is a cultural center in Paris, notably combining theatre, cinema and contemporary photography. The place echoes the Montparnasse of the 1920s or 1930s. The Lucernaire seeks to bring together the arts, the artists, famous or beginners, and the spectators of these different arts. It wishes to remain a popular creative theater.

This cultural center located in the heart of the 6th arrondissement of Paris, at 53, rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs, born in a former disused factory, includes three theaters, three cinemas, a gallery of exhibition, a small bookshop, a restaurant and a bar. The Lucernaire also organizes concerts, public theatrical or poetic readings, debates and book presentations.

Public spaces
The 6th arrondissement is known for its relaxed lifestyle. The covered Saint Germain market with its small traders and caterers is ideal for stocking up on good products.

St. Germain Market
The Saint-Germain market is a former covered market located in Paris in the Odéon district. In 1970, the City of Paris envisaged the demolition of the market and the construction of a large property complex. This included a supermarket, a garage with a service station, several public facilities (including a crèche, a home for unsuitable children, a sports center with swimming pool, a club for the elderly, etc.). Housing and offices were also planned, out of a total of 12,000 m 2 for a footprint of 3,900 m2. Of Blondel’s building, only the exterior arcades were preserved and the building was surmounted by a 3-storey glass and metal superstructure.

In 2017, the market is reopened to the public. Four international brands have settled there: Apple in 1,300 m2, Nespresso in 500 m2, Uniqlo in 800 m2 and Mark & Spencer Food in 1,000 m2. Two other smaller shops devoted to top-of-the-range food (a butcher’s shop and a restaurant).

New Bridge
The Pont Neuf is the oldest standing bridge across the river Seine in Paris, France. It crosses the Seine at the western tip of the Île de la Cité. Built at the end of the 16th century and finished at the beginning of the 17th century, it owes its name to the novelty that was at the time a bridge devoid of dwellings and provided with sidewalks protecting pedestrians from mud and horses. It is also the very first stone bridge in Paris to entirely cross the Seine. The name Pont Neuf was given to distinguish it from older bridges that were lined on both sides with houses. It has remained after all of those were replaced. Despite its name, it is now the oldest bridge in Paris crossing the Seine. It has been listed since 1889 as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.

The bridge is composed of two separate spans, one of five arches joining the left bank to the Île de la Cité, another of seven joining the island to the right bank. Old engraved maps of Paris show that the newly built bridge just grazed the downstream tip of the Île de la Cité; since then, the natural sandbar building of a mid-river island, aided by stone-faced embankments called quais, has extended the island. Today the tip of the island is the location of the Square du Vert-Galant, a small public park named in honour of Henry IV, nicknamed the “Green Gallant”.

Arts bridge
The Pont des Arts is a pedestrian bridge in Paris which crosses the River Seine. It links the Institut de France and the central square (cour carrée) of the Palais du Louvre, (which had been termed the “Palais des Arts” under the First French Empire). The current bridge was rebuilt between 1981 and 1984 “identically” according to the plans of Louis Arretche, who reduced the number of arches (seven instead of nine), which allows them to be aligned with those of the Pont Neuf, while resuming the appearance of the old footbridge.

Since late 2008, tourists have taken to attaching padlocks (love locks) with their first names written or engraved on them to the railing or the grate on the side of the bridge, then throwing the key into the Seine river below, as a romantic gesture. By 2014, concern was being expressed about the possible damage the weight of the locks was doing to the structure of the bridge. In June, part of the parapet on the bridge collapsed under the weight of all of the padlocks that had been attached to it.

Square Roger-Stephane
Square Roger-Stéphane is a green space in the 7th arrondissement of Paris. Square Roger-Stéphane is located at the end of the cul-de-sac of rue Juliette-Récamier, between two Haussmanian buildings. It looks like a garden with flowery terraces of Japanese lilacs. There is a fountain, a cascading basin, a huge weeping beech tree, plants such as rhododendrons, magnolias, periwinkles, honeysuckles, heather in a hilly architecture.

The intellectual atmosphere of the 6th arrondissement, epitomized by the café culture, is blending with a spotlight on high fashion in the St-Germain-des-Prés quartier. Start at Le Bon Marche on Place Sevres Babylon and wander through the winding old streets. From fashion boutiques to beautiful home stores, enthralled the window displays, the original designs and the fashion.

Walking along the Seine, explore the ramshackle green booths of the les bouquinistes selling prints and secondhand literary treasures, it’s easy to get lost in time. Continue south and explore the charming streets of St-Germain-des-Prés and you’ll find an eclectic array of antique shops and tiny art galleries right next to chic interior design shops and boutiques by top name fashion designers such as Giorgio Armani, Christian Lacroix Yves Saint Laurent and Sonia Rykiel.

Food and Drink
The 6th arrondissement is well-known for its many fine restaurants, food stores and cafés. Vistors can experience daily life as the Parisians do by shopping at the same local bakeries and patisseries, fruit and vegetable shops, butchers, cheese shops, and small supermarkets. One of the best food markets in the 6th takes place every day except Monday on the rue de Buci. Take a break during your shopping at one of the cafés lining the street, perfect for people watching and taking in a moment of daily life at one of Paris’ most vibrant markets.

A favorite gourmet store for locals and visitors is La Grande Epicerie de Paris. This is behind Le Bon Marche department store and a regular haunt. Enormous food hall, fantastic selection of gourmet delights.Here you can assemble the ultimate French picnic, or select the freshest ingredients of the day to prepare at fully equipped and modern kitchen.

One of the enduring symbols of Paris is the lively café scene. Ever since Le Precope, the world’s first coffeehouse, opened its doors in 1686, countless artists, writers and eminent intellectuals have made the Left Bank cafés their regular haunts.

St-Germain-des-Prés, long considered the literary heart and soul Paris, is home to Paris’ most illustrious cafés: Les Deux Magots, Café de Flore, Le Precope, Brasserie Lipp and Café Bonaparte. Taste the same place great people watching and lively scene at Paris’ famous literary cafés.

The brasseries, cafés and restaurants on rue Saint-André des Arts and rue de Buci offer a simple and reassuring menu that never disappoints. A blanquette from Procope, the oldest café in Paris opened in 1686, an Instagrammable bowl at Maison Sauvage, a lobster roll at Homer, steam bites at Yoom, cabbage from Popelini or even Grom ice cream for dessert…

The 6th arrondissement is a place of choice to have fun, dance and experience an unforgettable and festive evening. Head to La Rhumerie or the Prescription Cocktail Club to sample colorful creations. The 43 Up On The Roof, rooftop of the Holiday Inn offers an exceptional terrace to admire the rooftops of Paris.