Saint Germain des Pres – 6th Arrondissement
Similarly to its western neighbor (the Fifth), the Sixth has a reputation for being one of the more scholarly districts. L’École des Beaux-Arts de Paris is located in this district, as well as the French Senate and Académie francaise. This left bank arrondissement is home to some of the most historic moments in Paris, particularly in philosophy and the arts. With this reputation, it comes as no shock that the Sixth is one of the more expensive residential district of Paris, being a major hub for the art and university scenes. However, if you are looking to visit Paris and stay somewhere away from the major tourist locations (while still being in city centre), the Sixth is ideal for you!
While this district offers a host of museums and universities to admire, the main attraction is Luxembourg Palace and Gardens. A visit to this sight will make you feel as if you’ve left Paris entirely and been transported to a peaceful estate. The palace is opulently decorated in a way that only the French royals could achieve: beautiful marbles, rich golds, and soft tapestries. The palace, however, is only complete with a view of the meticulously manicured gardens, crafted in the traditional French style. The gardens have a reputation of being one of the most peaceful locations in Paris, and you can often see people spending a lazy afternoon in the shade of the trees here. The garden is full of fountains and statues for the casual stroller to view, always offering something new.
The Pont des Arts is most famous of the bridges in the sixth and is known for a large amount of padlocks (“love locks”) attached to the bridge by lovers, but a portion of the bridge collapsed in June 2014 due to the weight of these locks.
For those looking to stay in the Sixth, there are a number of options. The Relais Christine, a charming boutique hotel, provides a wonderful ambience in its beautifully designed courtyard, and the restaurant in the stunning stone basement is sure to beguile you. In contrast to the Relais Christine, the Bel Ami is ultra-modern in design with statements of bold accent colours. Located on the Sixth’s charming side streets, this hotel is sure to please the trendiest of travellers.. The Aubusson, located near the river, provides a more traditional French feel, but keeps a rustic ceiling to contrast the elaborate furniture and décor.
No arrondissement is complete without its restaurants, and the Sixth is full of great choices. FIsh (la Boissonnerie) is a smaller restaurant, but their menu (which changes daily) is sure to win over even the pickiest of diners. Reservations are advised. Un Dimanche a Paris, which shares the name with the chocolatier, features a menu sure to please any chocolate lover.