Saint Germain des Prés Paris District, France
How to get there
The best way to the St-Germain the neighbourhood is to start by taking the Pont des Arts which is located at the Louvre. You will pass by teh Ile de la Cité, then the Tour St.-Jacques and then the Hotel de Ville. Finally, you will be on the Left Bank. Directly in front of you is the Institut de France (the building with the beautiful Dome). This is the seat of the Académie Française, where a body of writers and scholars meet to preserve the purity of the French language.
However, it is the northern half of the 6th arrondissement (at the place St. Germain des Prés), where tourists like parisians are moslty attracted. The Saint Germain des Près has the money, elegance and sophistication, as well as, a mixter of trend-setters in the arts, philosophy and politics.
What to see
Place St-Germain-des-Prés, with such popular places like the Deux Magot café and Café Flore and Brasserie Lipp not far. Each having its own reputation and style.
And not to forget the Church of Saint Germain des Près, built back in the 6th century, was an enormous Benedictine monastery. The interior, with its Romanesque lines still clear under the deforming paint of nineteenth-century frescoes. In the corner of the churchyard by the rue Bonaparte, a little Picasso head of a woman is dedicated to the memory of the poet Apollinaire.
History and Surroundings
The riverside part of the the neighbourhood is divided lengthways by the rue St-André-des-Arts and the rue Jacob. It is full of bookstores, art galleries, antique stores, cafés and restaurants. Take a look into the courtyards and the side streets. The houses are four to six stories high, seventeenth- and eighteenth-century, and painted in infinite gradations of grey, pearl and off-white.
Historical associations are legion. Molière started his career in rue Mazarine. In the rue Visconti Racine died, Delacroix painted and Balzac's printing business went bust. In parallel rue des Beaux-Arts, Oscar Wilde died, Corot and Ampère, father of amps, lived, and crazy poet Gérard de Nerval walked a lobster on a lead.