St-Germain des Près, Paris
On the Left Bank in the St. Germaine area, St. Nicolas du Chardonette (although I was hoping for some samples of Chardonnay), is one of many gorgeous churches serving the local neighborhoods in Paris.
The St. Germaine district (in the 6th Arrondissement) consists of the main St. Germaine Blvd. and surrounds. It's an area steeped in rich history – including a fascinating literary and bohemian history. Now, on the surface, you'll see traces of that old intellectualism if you look closely enough past the shi-shi fashion shops and its crowds of shoppers; it’s still home to bookshops, and arts stops, and many a cafe. We enjoyed strolling through the area and dipping into brasseries to sip sidewalk café and people-watch. The highlight here for us, though, was a visit to the famous Café du Flor just near the grand 6th-century St. Germaine-des-Prés church. We sat overlooking the sidewalk, and – with our greatly overpriced drinks and delicious profiteroles – watched the parade of Parisian life stroll by. (The Flor is supposedly the place to be ‘round these parts, though that’s dependant upon who you ask – Brasserie Lipp and Les Deux Magots across the way also have tempting caches of old stories a la Hemingway under their awnings.)
St Germain des Pres is a charming quarter in Paris, filled with artists, students, locals and tourists! There are many restaurants and nice shopping boutiques that are fun-filled during the day and the night also!
The church in this quarter (l'Eglise St Germain des Pres) is said to be one of the first constructed in Paris. When I read this, I expected the church to be more extravagant than it was, however, it was beautiful nonetheless.
I would recommend going to St Germain des Pres if you want to roam around the boutiques, or if you wanted to go out for a noisy drink in the evening!!
Despite its prominent location facing the back colonnade of the Louvre, Eglise Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois seems to be skipped by most tourists. This is double astonishing given that the church is a jewel of Gothic architecture, expanded and restored repeatedly over the years since its initial construction in the 12th century. Note that the Gothic tower in front of the Church does not belong to it, but rather to the next door Mairie of the 1er arrondissement - the town hall built in a similar Gothic style.
We came upon this magnificent church while walking to the river. It was Not on our list of places to visit but it was such a beautiful place, we took the time to go in. It's flamboyant Gothic architecture which was the house of worship for the royal family before the French Revolution. It was built during the 13th to 16th cen. The stained glass windows are beautiful and there was a rather crude wooden statue of St. Peter, fisher of men, that somehow spoke to me. I was well worth the visit. Sometimes these accidental things are some of the more interesting.
Located behind Abbaye Saint-Germain-des-Près, le Palais Abbatial was built in 1586 by Cardinal de Bourbon, the Abbot of Saint-Germain-des-Près. The architect of the palace is thought to be Guillaume de Marchand, whose design is considered a precursor to the Louis XIII style that emerged in France shortly thereafter. Le Palais Abbatial was also the second building in Paris, after Hôtel Scipion, to combine redbrick and stone in its construction. Some modifications occurred later, particularly around 1680 by Guillaume Egon, the Cardinal landgrave of Fürstenberg. His title is eternalised a short block away from the palace, at place Fürstenberg, one of the most charming squares in Paris. It is planted with four large Paulownia trees and is often featured in French films. Le Palais Abbatial is nowadays the headquarters of a couple of religious organisations.
The St. Germaine Quarter stretches from the Fontaine St.-Michel west along the Seineto the Institute de France, the Pont des Arts and the Ecole des Beaux Arts. The area extends to the south up to the Blvd, past the Church and across the Blvd. up to the Luxembourg Gardens comprises most of the area of the 6th Arrondissement. ( This is really "The Left Bank'). It includes the Churches St. Germaine des Pres and St. Sulpice, plus every sort of shop and eatery from ready-to-wear to designer, or creperie to 4* gourmet palace and famous brasseries and cafes. There are lot of inexpensive 2* hotels and better ones. The many colorful residents (and presence of laundromats) make this a good area for long Parisian sojourns. We stayed on the rue des Canettes (as a family group of 5 couples) and could walk to many places and use various Metro stations. We ate in small creperies and at th bar across the street and walked upthe block to the Place St. Sulpice and further to the Luxembourg Gardens. Every side street was interesting. This is the real Paris! Up the r. Tournon was a view of the Luxembourg Palace and the entry to the Hotel de Brancas, now the Institut Francais d'Architecture.
This is the oldest church in Paris - the only remain of Benedictine Abbey. It was built in 6th century. Then was destroyed few times by Normans, rebuilt in 11th century and enlarged in 12th to the present size. The oldest part of the church is the east tower. Take a walk around the church – along Rue Cardinale, Rue de l’Echaude or Rue de Furstenberg. You find here some picturesque old houses.
Saint-Germain-des-Prés is the literary quarter par excellence, home of the major publishing houses, the Académie Française, bookshops and literary cafés. The churh with the same name has elements dated 1000 years ago.
This church is, as you probably know, the oldest in Paris. It was founded by Childebert, son of Clovis, the first king of France and is dedicated to the saintly Germain who was Bishop of Paris in Childebert’s life. It is located in what, at the time, were flood-prone fields as the “Prés” indicates, being the French word for fields.
This is the church where the remains of Rene Descartes were moved from Stockholm but, as near as I can tell, there is little, if anything, here. There is what looks like a marble memorial to him between two chapels. It praises his intellect and his contribution to the literature and thought of his time. Some regard him as the father of the enlightenment.
The church was built, as so many were, to house and honor a holy relic, in this case the stole of St. Vincent, brought from Spain by Childebert in the 6th Century. The abbey became one of the richest in France and a Catholic intellectual center until the French Revolution. There is a lot of interesting statuary and paintings to be seen, one statue of St. Germain and a 13th Century one of the Virgin and Child which has been pieced back together from three stone pieces found in a recent archeological dig nearby.
In St. Germain visit the daily (except Monday) food market stalls on Rue de Buci. Wander around have a crepe, shop, find a cafe, have a beverage, repeat.