What to See and Do in the 6th Arrondissement of Paris?
By Colette Davidson
Paris’ 6th arrondissement on the left bank is the essence of chic and sophistication, epitomized by the Saint-Germain-des-Près neighborhood. Some of the city’s most renowned cafes and restaurants are located here, with many of them once frequented by some of Paris’s most famous writers and thinkers. But there is also plenty to see here in terms of tourist attractions, and it is also one of the city’s best neighborhoods to stroll through on a sunny afternoon. Here are some of the things to check out when visiting the 6th.
Jardin du Luxembourg
France’s gardens are famous for their manicured shrubbery, pristine ponds and stately marble statues. You’ll find all of this and more at the Luxembourg gardens, situated just outside the limits of the Latin Quarter. Wander along the gravel paths, have a seat in one of the lounge chairs, or push along a sailboat in the large pond at the park’s center. From May to September, you can enjoy free classical music concerts at the park’s pavilion. During this time, there are also plenty of places to relax on the grass with a picnic.
Nestled behind the Luxembourg Gardens is France’s senate – the upper house of the country’s parliament, founded in 1799. While the senate usually receives less hype than its more well-known counterpart, the National Assembly, it still plays an integral role in passing the country’s may bills and measures. If your French is up to scratch, you can attend one of the senate meetings, as an individual (for more info, call 01.42.34.20.01) or in a group (01.42.34.20.60).
Les Deux Magots
Located in the Saint-Germain-des-Près neighborhood, this famous café was once the stomping grounds of some of Paris’s most well-known intellectuals. Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir often came here to gab, as did Albert Camus, Pablo Picasso and Ernest Hemingway. Now the high-end café is mostly frequented by tourists, but if you do plan to stop by, be prepared for a classy atmosphere and heftier than usual prices.
Across the street from Les Deux Magots is this famous eatery, offering Alsatian cuisine since 1880 and a classy art deco interior. The famous names that once enjoyed a café across the street, like Camus and Sartre, often made their way here for a traditional sauerkraut and chicken dinner in between existential reverie. But just as much as this brasserie is a place to enjoy hardy doses of Alsatian cuisine, it is also just as pleasant for a coffee, wine or beer in between shopping in the surrounding Saint-Germain-des-Près neighborhood.
Pont des Arts
For those who love love, this bridge is a favorite for tourists and locals alike. For the past several years, the Pont des Arts has been covered in padlocks with lovers’ initials or names penned onto them. Now, there are even people selling padlocks and pens on the bridge so you can join in on the fun. Once you’ve “locked in” your love, enjoy the sights from this centrally-located spot overlooking the Seine River and the Louvre museum. Definitely worth a picture or two!