6th Arrondissement

The 6th Arrondissement of Paris gives the Seine River a perfectly Parisian, blasé embrace just below the Musée du Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay.  This left bank neighborhood manages to check every box for visitors to Paris (whilst simultaneously looking down it’s nose at them): history, architecture, shopping, dining, highbrow intellectual stimulation, and glamour. Highlights include the posh, manicured Jardin du Luxembourg (don’t miss impeccably dressed French kids pushing vintage toy sailboats around the park’s mythical central pond), the fancy Saint-Germain-des-Prés art galleries, cafés haunted by the ghosts of high society literaries and philosophers (Bonjour Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre at Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots) and, of course, the Saint-Sulpice cathedral (Film legend Catherine Deneuve is watching you from her penthouse right across the square). End your Sixième visit with a stroll down the poetically named rue du Cherche-Midi (‘Noon-Seeking street’—The  convoluted story behind the name doesn’t disappoint).

You want to stroll down the Seine, you need to stroll down the Seine—Parisians love it and when the weath­er is coop­er­at­ing, are there all of the time—a result of the unique devel­op­ment of the Berges de Seine over the last few years. It went from mul­ti-lane high­way to frol­ic zone for pedes­tri­ans, cyclists, and alco­hol appre­ci­a­tion meet­ings alike. Read in-depth to decode it accord­ing to your tastes and plans for the day as the vibe varies quite a bit from cheap, youth­ful, and bois­ter­ous East to still-love­ly but touristy, 15€-for-a-mediocre-cocktail, West side (If you can see the Eif­fel Tower…)

Montparnasse

This quar­ter, strad­dling the 14th and 15th arrondisse­ments, is a com­mer­cial mix of shop­ping, movie the­aters, crêperies and bistros sur­round­ing the Tour Mont­par­nasse sky­scraper and the Mont­par­nasse train sta­tionEchoes remain of the gritty/glam Paris of Hen­ry Miller and Anais Nin here at the old-school ~but not cor­rupt­ed~ big, old, Parisian cafés like La Rotonde, Le Select, Café du Dome, La Coupole.…the best places to have a glass of wine or a seafood plat­ter and imag­ine your­self as coura­geous­ly per­vert­ed as the Parisian avant-garde of the 1930s…

Once known to be the hang­out of King Louis XIII, Delacroix and Voltaire, the Jardin du Lux­em­bourg and the cafés sur­round­ing it high­light the art, cul­ture and relaxed way of life that are inter­twined with Parisian life. Besides the gar­dens, don’t miss the enclaves around Car­refour de l’Odéon, St-Sulpice cathe­dral, Théâtre de l’Odéon and the Sénat, and rue de Médi­cis.

This is the best-known, most vis­it­ed part of the Sixth. The rea­son is that it’s a mix of chic and com­mer­cial, plus cen­tral and beau­ti­ful. High­lights here include the pic­ture-per­fect, qui­et area around Place de Furstem­berg, the very old church after which the quar­ter is named, Café de Flo­re, Café des Deux Magots (don’t both­er eat­ing at these insti­tu­tions. The food is pricey and quite frankly not worth the Ben­jamins. Instead, enjoy a drink on the ter­race), Rue Bona­parte, Rue Jacob, and Rue de l’Université. Quaint rue de Buci is filled with tons of touristy restau­rants and bars, and it gets loud.