The Saint-Germain-des-Prés district

At the heart of the 6th arrondissement of Paris, between the River Seine, Boulevard Saint Michel and the Hôtel des Saints Pères, the quarter is continuing in the Saint-Germain spirit with its cafés, boutiques and art galleries.

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Often considered as one of the great centres for artists from all over the world, the Saint-Germain district is the home of painters, as well as philosophers, musicians and actors, who all contribute to the dynamism of the quarter. 

 

A major artistic and theatre centre

The history of the district begins in 543 A.D., when Childebert, the son of Clovis, began work on an abbey church on the recommendation of Bishop Germain. The church took the name of the bishop at his death. The Saint-Germain-des-Prés quarter quickly developed around the church, which was destroyed by a fire during the French Revolution. In the 17th century, the district was already attracting artists, who gathered together in the many cafés in the vicinity. Rue de l’Ancienne Comédie, the home of Le Procope coffee house, which is today a restaurant, was the meeting place of actors from the Comédie-Française, and then of Voltaire and Rousseau. It was in the 19th century that the Saint-Germain-des-Prés quarter became a meeting place for writers such as Balzac or George Sand, but also for painters like Delacroix and Manet, as well as for actors. During the 20th century, literary cafés sprung up in Saint-Germain-des-Prés: Les Deux Magots, Le Flore and the Brasserie LippApollinaire, Aragon, André Breton, Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Paul Sartre all enjoyed going to these “institutions”.
 

A dynamic district

Life was in full swing around the Théâtre de l’Odéon. Artists such as Picasso and Man Ray moved into the district, as did singer-songwriters: Léo Ferré, George Brassens, Jacques Brel, Charles Trenet, Charles Aznavour, Serge Gainsbourg and Juliette Greco. Jazz was part of the atmosphere. Among others, Miles Davis played here. Today, the quarter, which still preserves its artistic and festive heritage, attracts more and more luxury brands, such as Dior, Rolex and Hermès. The Hôtel des Saints Pères is an ideal starting point for admiring the beautiful shop windows and for reliving the spirit of Saint-Germain.

Team's best picks

La Brasserie Lipp
A restaurant not to be missed in the St. Germain des Près district and made famous by its politician clientele. Its interior design is listed as an historic monument.
151, boulevard Saint Germain – 75006 PARIS
Aux Prés – Cyril Lignac
A stylish bistrot opened by the Chef Cyril Lignac, who gives pride of place to some of the finest produce of the French regions.
27 rue du Dragon – 75006 Paris
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