Fans of weekend outdoor lounging, high fashion and quirkier sartorial finds, plus markets brimming with locally made cheeses, plan your Parisian getaway in the boho-chic hub of the 6th arrondissement.
Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the 6th arrondissement of Paris, is located just on the Left Bank, skirting the edges of Jardin de Luxembourg.
This is the boho-chic centre of Paris. It is the spiritual home of specialist bookshops, galleries, candle shops and a roll-call of fashion houses like Isabel Marant, Agnès b, high-street fashion as well as smaller, quirkier labels. On the weekend make like a local and grab the newspapers and relax on the lawns in Luxembourg Gardens and admire the rows of pleached plane trees and clean, impeccably-dressed French kids chasing toy boats in the ponds.
On Sundays, head to the organic markets on Boulevarde Raspail (from 9ish till 2ish – French people are not early risers!). Don’t have breakfast pre-market as you’ll need to sample the fresh crêpes, tarts, pastries and perhaps something gamey and slow-roasted on a rotisserie along with the chicken fat-roasted potatoes. Of course, you can secure all your seasonal fresh produce here as well as artisanal cheeses, but make sure you sample them first and ask the stallholder where the cheese is from, and how it is made.
For eating out, Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots are still the most popular cafés for celeb-spotting but the coffee is expensive (€4) and pretty ordinary. Chances are there will be elbow-room only as it is always packed with tourists. Ladurée – home of the macaron – is always busy with devotees lining up for gift-packs but step beyond the crowds inside the tearooms and while away the time among white cane furniture, maroon velvet curtains and fancy silverware. There are endless cafés and bistros in and around Boulevard Saint Germain; book ahead for the famous, but expensive, Le Comptoir du Relais, or just duck next door to the standing-room only Champagne bar L’Avante Comptoir and grab half a dozen oysters or an artichoke with dipping olive oil and vinegar. La Cremerie has a snappy owner, but the long international wine list by the glass and cheese selections compensate.
This is an edited extract of an article originally published with SBS. Scroll down for the link.