24 Hours In Paris: The 6th Arrondissement

Take an in-depth tour of one of the city's coolest quarters.

If you visit Paris long enough to see diverse parts of the city that are not touristy, you’ll discover that each arrondissement (or neighborhood) has its own unique identity. While we all have a good mental image of what a Parisian girl looks like, her style can drastically change depending on what part of town she’s from. So, we came up with the idea of bringing you a travel guide to all of Paris’ 20 arrondissements – and what do do in each one if you only had 24 hours, plus what to wear to blend in like a local. 

We are in the 6th arrondissement this week where you will find many traces of literary icons from the past. While the area lacks tourist sights, it still offers many places to visit from one of the most beautiful gardens in the city to an old abbey from the golden age and no shortage of cultural hubs where writers and artists used to come to exchange insights. This seemingly bourgeois district has many surprises in store for you. 


Image: Dublincookeryschool.ie

This upmarket part of town dates back to 1612, when Marie de' Medici (the widow of King Henri IV) initiated the construction of her new residence and its enormous garden, now known as the Jardin du Luxembourg. It's the perfect spot to start your tour of the 6th arrondissement – especially in the warmer months. Comprising an impressive 23 acres of land, visitors are always impressed by the variety of flowerbeds and meticulously landscaped garden. It is also home to one of Paris' most beautiful water fountains, the Medici fountain. Built in 1620, it remains a top attraction for visitors, who often lounge around the water feature on lunch breaks. If you want to bring a brunch picnic with you, find a spot in the tree-lined lawn that overlooks the Luxembourg Palace (incidentally, the only stretch of grass you're allowed to sit on). Once you've had your fill, head down to the picturesque Saint Sulpice square where you'll come across the city's largest church surrounded by small stores and cafes. Another highlight of the area is the abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, which was built in medieval France and has stood the test of time. Admission to both churches if free. On your way from one to the other, stop off at City Pharma, a cosmetic and skin care megastore: it's known to tourists and locals alike for its super low-cost products – including brands names like Bioderma and Nuxe. 


Image: Wallpaper.com

This area was once the literary hub of Paris, because of its proximity to some of the city's most highly reputed universities and publishing houses, and the likes of Ernest Hemmingway and Pablo Picasso would regularly be seen rubbing shoulders on the terraces of Café de Flore and Les Deux Margots along the Boulevard Saint Germain. Stop off at either for a casual lunch and some people-watching. Très parisienne. Afterwards, continue the artistic vibes with a visit to the former home of legendary French artist Serge Gainsbourg. This graffiti-covered house on the bourgeois Rue de Verneuil was home to the French pop culture icon from 1969 to 1991. While inside is closed "for admission" (also très parisienne), his daughter, Charlotte Gainsbourg has revealed that the house is still filled with her father's possessions, including the original notebooks of lyrics. Once you've got the perfect Instagram snap in front of the facade, it's time for some shopping. The 6th is known for its designer brands, but there are also some hidden gems to be found. For concept store lovers, don't miss Smallable, a cute space dedicated to home decor, kid's clothing and women's fashion. And while you are in here, the Sonia Rykiel store on Boulevard Saint Germain is a must. Labelled the "Queen of Knitwear," by Women’s Wear Daily in 1967, the late French designer was known for her joyful designs, full of colors and positive vibes. The flagship store is decorated as a library in dedication to her passion for words. Reading has never been so chic! If you are looking for natural perfume or hydrating skin care, visit Buly 1803, which was first established by Jean-Vincent Bully in 1803 and was resurrected and renamed Officine Universale Buly. The shop itself is an old-world masterpiece with beautiful wooden cabinets and painted floor, where you can try perfume with truly unique scents or natural scrubs that are quite an absolute game-changer. 


Image: via Pinterest

Begin your evening at the Pont des Arts – otherwise known as the famous love lock bridge. However, don't expect to find the locks on the rails any more, since over a million locks have been removed and replaced by panels bearing paintings by street artists. Sit on one of the benche and enjoy the scenic sun set with a beautiful view of the city. For dinner, go to Semilla where you can get a taste of wonderful French gastronomy – but if a prix fix meal is too formal for you, grab at chair a Freddy's, a tapas-style sister restaurant of Semilla that is right next door. Here, you can enjoy petite sharing plates and a well-selected wine list. For something more substantial, Blueberry makes one a heck of maki that combines creativity and authenticity perfectly. We love pretty much everything on their menu but our favorite is the Little Miss Yuzu, made from yuzu-marinated salmon and tropical flavors. After a filling meal, stop by Tiger, a trendy gin bar. Even a simple gin and tonic here tastes special since they use house tonic and an impressive selection of spirits as well as their own home-brew. But if you are in the mood for a whiskey and Jack, the wooden log cabin decor at Le Castor Club may be more up your alley. On weekends the basement is turned into a dance floor where you can dance the night away while sipping their inventive cocktails.  

Shop our selection of pieces inspired by the luxe, local style: 
Sonia Rykiel Off-the-shoulder Striped Velvet Mini Dress - $600
Silence + Noise Ashton Snap Button Track Pant - $69
Topshop Trench Duster Coat - $110
Sister Jane Tweed Mini Dress - $72
& Other Stories Lace & Slip Top - 65
Elvi Metallic Mac - $160
Free People Poof Sleeve Tee - $58
& Other Stories Sporty Trousers - $55
Eloquii Wrap Front Puff Sleeve Top - $70
Jeffrey Campbell Deep V Ankle Boots - $158
Pomelo Wide Leg Culottes - $34
Urban Outfitters Vintage Nugent Readers - $16
Forever 21 Plus Size Strapless Jumpsuit - $25
Topshop Paperbag Tie Mini Skirt - $60
Mango Striped Embroidery Blouse - $60

Cover image: via Pinterest