St. Germain-des-Prés and Latin & Luxembourg

Are you visiting Paris for a vacation? Then, you might consider staying in one of the most stimulating areas in Paris: St-Germain-des-Pres and Latin & Luxembourg Quarters. This area is considered to be the city’s café society because of the writers and intellectuals who held court in the first half of the 20th century.

Historical Overview

In the past, St-Germain-des-Prés was a little market town formed around the abbey of St. Germain. During that time, it was mostly fields wherein Benedictine monks work. The Church, which is considered to be the oldest in Paris, has the tombs of the Merovingians and St. Germain, bishop of Paris.

At the end of the 17th century, various big statesmen lived in St-Germain-des-Prés. Presently; you can see their mansions and courtyards, which are transformed, into seats of many governmental ministries.

Ultimately, St-Germain-des-Prés became known as the center of intellectualism. Good examples are the Café de Flore and the Deux Magots, which are popular hangouts for intellectuals such as Sartre, Vian and Simone de Beauvoir.

Considering Going Around St-Germain-des-Prés

Today, St-Germain-des-Prés is one of the touristy parts of Paris. There are lovely places around the back streets where you can see old houses with plaques noting the famous residents in the past.

The Latin Quarter, which takes its name from the Latin spoken by the students of the Sorbonne, is considered to be the scholastic center of Paris for more than 700 years. Presently, it continues to buzz with bookstores, cafes and jazz clubs. Meanwhile, the western boundary of the area is the bustling boulevard Saint-Michel and to the south is the tranquil greenery of the Luxembourg Quarter.

There is also the Musée d’Orsay, a museum that is considered to be one the world’s most beautiful. It houses most of the arts that were formerly displayed at the Jeu de Paume. It includes works from before 1870, Impressionism, Neo-Impressionism, Naturalism, Symbolism and Art Nouveau.

Of course, a visit around St-Germain-des-Prés means that you must see the Church of Saint Germain des Près. It is built back in the 6th century and is a big Benedictine monastery.

How to Go to St. Germain-des-Pres

A great way to go to the St-Germain-des-Prés is by taking the Pont des Arts, which is located at the Louvre. You shall see the Ile de la Cité, then the Tour St.-Jacques and then the Hotel de Ville. When you are on the Left Bank, you will be in front of the Institut de France, which is the seat of the Académie Française. This is where a group of writers and scholars meet to preserve the French language.