saint germain des prés paris

Guide to Saint-Germain-des-Prés Area of Paris

The Saint Germain des Prés area is one of the most beautiful areas of Paris and is a must visit during your trip to the capital. Located in the city’s 6th arrondissement, between Saint-Michel and the Hôtel des Invalides, it’s one of the city’s most expensive districts. Full of history, beautiful buildings, great restaurants and cool cafés, it’s well worth a trip over. I lived in the area for 3 years (on Rue Mazarine) and I know it particularly well. This guide will tell you more about the history and give you tips on the best eating spots to check out.

saint germain des prés paris streets

One of the Most Beautiful Areas of Paris

The area of Saint-Germain-des-Prés is a stunning, historical district and one of the city’s wealthiest areas. It’s surprisingly small, wedged in between the quartier de la monnaie and the quartier de Saint-Thomas-d’Aquin. It’s typically Parisian with the majority of the buildings either being Hausmannian or dating back to the 1700s.

The area dates back to the Middle Ages where the first Abbey was constructed in the 6th century. The name is derived from the fact that the abbey was surrounded by fields (dés Pres) as it was way outside the original city limits. As the city expanded, the village was eventually absorbed by Paris.

Nowadays the area is well know for its cafés, restaurants and shopping. It’s home to the famous École des Beaux Arts where many a famous artist has studied. It’s even well worth a visit just to walk around and explore the small side streets and stunning buildings.

Streets to Discover and Things to Do & See

The area is filled with plenty of amazing historical streets to discover.

Behind the Eglise de Saint Germain des Prés, you’ll find Rue de Furstemberg. It’s a quaint little square where you’ll frequently find opera singers and musicians playing on the place. On this old square there’s also the Eugène Delacroix Museum which despite being very small is definitely worth a visit.

Rue de Furstemberg Paris

Walk a bit further towards the river and you’ll stumble upon the rue de Seine where you’ll discover a vast amount of incredible art galleries. Running parallel to the rue de Seine is rue Mazarine (where I lived!) and where you’ll find the Institute of France and a small park where you’ll find cherry blossom during the spring.

rue mazarine Paris

Slightly further up lies the famous rue de Buci where you can grab a drink and a bite to eat.

Must Visit Cafés

The area is host to some very historical cafés that you should definitely check our during your trip.

On the Boulevard Saint Germain and just opposite the famous church you’ll find Les Deux Magots. It’s perhaps one of the city’s most famous cafés, having opened in 1895 it was frequented by many well known literary figures and artists. Pablo Picasso, Jean-Paul Sartre, André Malraux and Ernest Hemingway were all frequent visitors. The café has a great view across to the church but note that it’s very expensive.

Just next door you’ll find another very famous literary café, the Café de Flore. The café was again very popular with French celebrities, politicians, artists and film stars. It’s got a beautiful terrace to enjoy and prices are similar to that of Les Deux Magots.

cafe de flore paris

Further into the heart of Saint Germain, on the rue de Seine, you’ll find La Palette. Another historical café, it was frequented by Cézanne and Picasso. It was also known to have welcomed Jim Morrison and Ernest Hemingway and later on, Harrison Ford and Julia Roberts. I’ve spent many a night at La Palette and I’d definitely recommend to check it out – especially on warm evening!

la palette Paris

The Best Restaurants in Saint Germain des Prés

There’s plenty of great restaurants in the area suiting all budgets. In this section I’ll share my recommendations for dining out in Saint Germain.

If you like steak then you’ll have to visit the legendary Le Relais de l’Entrecôte on rue Saint-Benoît, right next to the church. They serve only one thing: ribeye (specially the eye of the cut) cooked to your liking served with a mountain of fries and their special steak sauce. They have a huge dessert menu and it’s always amazing. Note that you can’t reserve so prepare to queue!

entrecote paris saint germain des pres

Just next door to Le Relais de l’Entrecôte you’ll find a gem of a Japanese restaurant, Yen. They serve higher end Japanese food and even make their own soba noodles in house. It’s exceptional and won’t break the bank.

Opposite Les Deux Magots you’ll find a 1 Michelin star restaurant, Armani Ristorante. Located in the original Armani boutique, it’s no longer a fashion store – here you’ll very well cooked Italian food. Not the cheapest at €150 for a 5 course tasting menu but worth it for a special meal!

Church of Saint Germain des Prés

The famous church (or église in French) of Saint Germain is one of the oldest churches in Paris. The church is all what is left of the original Abbey which was founded in the 6th century. The majority of the Abbey was destroyed during and after the French Revolution despite some efforts of restoration in later years.

church saint germain des press

The church is free to enter and is worth a quick visit to see the incredible Nave and stained glass.

FAQ: Saint Germain des Prés

How to Get There

You can get to Saint Germain des Prés by metro on line 4. The stop is right next to the church in the heart of the district. You can walk there from the Louvre which will take you around 20 minutes.

How to get from Saint Germain des Prés to the Eiffel Tower

It’s simple to get from Saint Germain des Prés to the Eiffel Tower! You need to get on the Metro Line 10 at Mabillon to La Motte – Picquet Grenelle. Once out of the metro, you’ll need to walk about 10 minutes to get to the bottom of the Tour Eiffel Garden. You can then walk directly down to the tour. It’ll take around 30 minutes in total.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rabbit with Mustard Sauce (Lapin à la Moutarde)
Rabbit with mustard sauce

Rabbit with Mustard Sauce (Lapin à la Moutarde)

Rabbit with mustard sauce (or Lapin à la Moutarde) is a classical French dish

Vegetable Manchurian (Gobi Manchurian)
Vegetable Manchurian

Vegetable Manchurian (Gobi Manchurian)

Vegetable Manchurian (or Gobi Manchurian) is an amazing Indian Chinese classic

You May Also Like