South of the Seine, in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, is the district of Saint-Germain de Pres. This area of Paris, in the early 1900s, represented the bohemian heart of the city: artists, writers, actors, art critics and musicians frequented the numerous literary cafés discussing art and culture. Intellectuals and writers of the calibre of Jean Paul Sartre and Simon de Beauvoir met here.
Since then, much has changed and the magical bohemian atmosphere has gradually been replaced by new trends: today, the district is renowned for its luxury high-fashion boutiques. Despite the inevitable changes of time, it still retains all its charm and it is a real pleasure to get lost in the picturesque alleys, browse the shops, fashion ateliers, bookshops and visit the numerous museums.
The charm and elegance are still there and the old cafés jealously preserve the atmosphere of yesteryear in which to savour the splendours of the past.
The Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés is one of the oldest places of worship in Paris.
Only a small part of the former Benedictine abbey, suppressed during the French Revolution, remains today but the church is an admirable example of Romanesque architecture.
The church has been remodelled several times and its interior mixes Gothic vaults with Romanesque arches. A bell tower from 990 remains intact and has survived wars and revolutions.
Some illustrious people such as the Merovingian kings, Descartes and King Casimir of Poland are buried here.
The church of Saint Sulpice, with its Italian-style façade, is one of the largest in Paris after Notre-Dame. Easily recognisable thanks to its two tall towers, which frame the entrance to the building, the origin of this church is relatively uncertain. It seems that it was first built in the Middle Ages to relieve the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés whose faithful were too numerous.
Its construction took no less than 150 years and the succession of six architects before it was actually completed. Inside, it houses a cycle of frescoes by Delacroix and became very famous to the general public for a crucial episode in the book The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.
Cradle of Parisian culture, Saint Germain de Prés has always been home to writers, artists, philosophers, musicians, actors and the city’s leading figures, becoming their meeting point. Famous are the Café Landelle (now closed) where the Encyclopaedists used to meet or the Café Le Procope, where the greatest writers and intellectuals of the calibre of Rousseau, Diderot and Verlaine used to entertain.
How could we fail to mention Café de Flore: among its most famous patrons were such notables as Ernest Hemingway, Francis Scott Fitzgerald, Albert Camus, Jacques Prévert, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali.
Saint Germain de Prés is also famous for another record: in the 1950s, Bepop was born here, thanks to a large presence of jazz musicians in the nightclubs. Don’t miss an evening in one of the many jazz clubs that enliven Parisian nights.
Finally, the bistros with their timeless charm, where you can immerse yourself in a charming atmosphere and sample the delicacies of Parisian cuisine, are not to be missed: Les Deux Magots and Brasserie Lipp, are the most famous addresses.
Saint Germain de Prés is a very small but extremely popular neighbourhood adjacent to the Latin Quarter. Thanks to its charm and bohemian atmosphere, it is considered one of the best neighbourhoods to sleep in Paris, especially for couples looking for romance .
Its elegant and refined character makes it a trendy neighbourhood, full of renowned clubs, high-end patisseries and upmarket restaurants. In this area, you will hardly be able to locate many budget accommodations, as most of the hotels are upscale.
With a strategic central location, Saint Germain de Prés is perfect as a base for sightseeing in Paris, as it is only a stone’s throw away from the famous Île de la Cité district, where some of the city’s most famous attractions such as Notre Dame, Saint Chapelle and the Conciergerie are located.
Saint-Germain de Pres is easily reached using the efficient public transport network.
City Card allow you to save on public transport and / or on the entrances to the main tourist attractions.