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Saint-Germain Neighborhood


A local favorite stroll

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Who is it for?

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Why you will love it?

The Saint Germain district is a vibrant district located in the heart of Paris. Best known for its high end shopping, Saint Germain also offers historical monuments, old streets, as well as a small museum, dedicated to one of France’s most talented painter: Eugène Delacroix. 

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About this place

3 Place Saint-Germain des Prés, 75006 Paris
Line 4 - Saint Germain

Saturday : 9:00 am - 23:00 pm
more less
Monday : 9:00 am - 23:00 pm Tuesday : 9:00 am - 23:00 pm Wednesday : 9:00 am - 23:00 pm Thursday : 9:00 am - 23:00 pm Friday : 9:00 am - 23:00 pm Saturday : 9:00 am - 23:00 pm Sunday : 9:00 am - 23:00 pm

Our Insiders' Article

A small administrative district, but a large historical ditrict

The Saint Germain district can be delimited in 3 ways.  Saint Germain is a small administrative district in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, and historically, it used to be delimited by the fortification walls of the Saint Germain des Prés abbey.
Today though, the neighborhood covers a much broader area, from Saint Sulpice church to the South, the Seine River to the north, the Bon Marché department store to the West and Odéon to the East.
This is the region covered by this article.

High end shopping and historical Curiosities

The Saint Germain district offers 2 main attractions.

- Historical curiosities: There are several historical highlights in Saint Germain, including the oldest church is Paris: Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

- Shopping: The old streets of Saint Germain are filled with small shops, from typically French boutiques to high end luxurious international brands; the latter also found in one of Paris most prestigious department store, Le Bon Marché.

Parisianist Tip: check out our Saint Germain citinerary for an in-depth discovery of the district.

History: the birth of a village in the year 558

Following King Childebert I’s request, the abbot Germain built an abbey in 558, outside the walls of Paris at that time.
The abbey owned a lot of land, and therefore welcomed an increasing number of inhabitants, slowly becoming a village. Stone buildings started to appear in the 11th century, and other churches were built in the village from 1180 onwards.

Parisianist Fun Fact: in 1561, Paris’ population death toll grew exponentially because of the black plague. King Charles IX and his mother Catherine de Médicis sought refuge inside the Saint-Germain-des-Prés abbey.

History: a get together of intellectuals and artists

From 1631, the abbey became the prime intellectual center of France.
Dom Jean Mabillon and Dom Bernard de Montfaucon, two brilliant 17th century historians, gathered prints and manuscripts to form a great library in Saint Germain, attracting intellectuals from Paris and surrounding areas.
This tradition lived on throughout the following centuries as many intellectuals, including the founders of the Encyclopedia and the 1789 revolutionaries, as well as philosophers, authors, actors and musicians got together in Saint Germain, a tradition still true to this day.

Two iconic churches of Paris in Saint Germain

Saint-Germain-des-Prés church is probably the most iconic monument in Saint Germain.
The history and the interior of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, one of the oldest churches in Paris, are fascinating. The former abbey was built in 558 by King Childebert I, but invasions, fires and regime changes lead to major transformations.
Still, some wall stones inside are 1500 years old! The other iconic church is Saint Sulpice, the largest church in Paris. Its origins go back to the 10th century, and this is where author Victor Hugo got married.

Parisianist Fun Fact: The left tower of the facade was finished in 1781, but the right tower was never finished and remains hollow to this day.

From small traditional boutiques to a department store

Saint Germain is one of the 2 places (with the Marais) where you will be able to find all kinds of stores in narrow charming streets.
Mostly high end, the large international brands are generally located next to Saint-Germain-des-Prés church on Rue de Rennes, while other smaller, typical Parisian boutiques are found on the narrow side streets.
From garments to decoration or art galleries, Saint Germain offers a wide range of purchasing possibilities. At the end of Rue du Four (oven street, as the ovens of the abbey once lay here) is Le Bon Marché, one of the most prestigious department stores in Paris, created in 1838.

Parisianist Fun Fact: Le Bon Marché was described as “the cathedral of modern day commerce... tailor made for a people of female clients” by French author Emile Zola.

The old 17th century streets of Saint Germain

Between the Boulevard Saint Germain and the Seine River are many narrow streets, some of them that can be traced back to the 14th century.
The buildings might not be that old, but some of them still date back to the 17th century, easily recognizable as in the old days, the corners of the buildings were carved out to give more space to stagecoaches.
The lively rue de Buci, a local favorite, was built in the 13th century and was also known as the Rue du Pilori (Pillory Street) because the punishment and public humiliation devise was placed here in the Middle Ages.

Parisianist Fun Fact: Rue de Fürstenberg is one of the most expensive areas in Paris for real estate, with prices going over 20,000€ per square meter)

Restaurants: the iconic bars and restaurants where intellectuals would meet

Intellectuals started gathering in the Saint Germain village in the 17th century, and this tradition has been going on ever since.
Iconic restaurants, such as the Café des Deux Magots, have welcomed many artists such as Verlaine, Rimbaud, Sartre, Hemingway and Picasso.
Even older than the Café des Deux Magots, the restaurant Le Procope has welcomed revolutionary leaders such as Robespierre or American inventor and politician Benjamin Franklin.

Parisianist Fun Fact: Le Procope is the oldest restaurant in Paris, opened in 1684.

Museums: French painter Delacroix's house and workshop

Located at 6 Rue de Furstemberg is the Delacroix museum (5€ / 9:30AM to 5PM, closed on Tuesday).
Delacroix was a 19th century French painter, most famous for his “Liberty guiding the people” exposed at the Louvre. In the Delacroix museum, you will see paintings and objects having belonged to the painter.

Parisianist Fun Fact: If you decide to visit this small museum, you will also be able to access the quiet and charming private garden.

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