St- Germain- des- Pres (Paris)

3 Place St-Germain-des-Pres

01-55 42 81 33

Subway: St-Germain-des-Pres

Open: daily


Description of Church of Saint- Germain- des- Pres

St- Germain- des- Pres (Paris)

Church of Saint- Germain- des- Pres is the oldest church in Paris. It was constructed in 542 as a basilica that stored holy relics. It wasn't very lucky. Normans managed to plunder and burn it down at least four times in forty years. Every time it was reconstructed in the early Romanesque architecture. The church was badly damaged in a fire of 1794 and restored in the 19th century. The facade of the church contains remains of the portal from the 12th century with subsequent additions of 1607. The bell tower is build in a traditional Romanesque style. The interior of the church contains the tombs of great French mathematician and a philosopher Descartes as well as Polish King Jan (John) Casimir.


Saint-Germain-des-Prés is a neighborhood located in the 6th District of Paris, around the church of the former abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Its inhabitants are called "germanopratinos". From the end of the Second World War, the Saint-Germain-des-Prés district became one of the most outstanding places of the intellectual and cultural life of Paris. Philosophers, writers, actors and musicians mingled in the brasseries and nightclubs (where bebop was invented) where existentialist thought coexisted with American jazz. Music par excellence of Saint-Germain-des-Prés post-war, jazz reigned in the so-called "caves" (caves) whose image and environment characterized the Saint-Germain-des-Prés of that time. The most famous was undoubtedly Le Tabou, located at No. 33 on Dauphine Street, where the Vian brothers played, and who frequented a number of American jazzmen such as Charlie Parker and Miles Davis. Once the effervescence of the postwar period was over, Saint-Germain-des-Prés was also the favorite meeting place for the artisans and actors of the Nouvelle Vague, at the end of the 50s and the beginning of the 60s.


Today, the neighborhood has largely lost the intellectual prestige it enjoyed in its golden age, that of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, of the emblematic actress and singer Juliette Gréco, of the filmmakers Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut, from poets such as Jacques Prévert or from artists such as Giacometti or Boris Vian. However, you can still find many artists on café terraces such as Les Deux Magots or Café de Flore. The Brasserie Lipp is still a meeting place for journalists, actors and actresses in vogue, and politicians (François Mitterrand was a faithful client until his election to the Presidency of the French Republic in 1981).

The seventeenth century buildings have been preserved, but the change is already clear. Fashion shops, increasingly luxurious, are gradually replacing small shops and bookstores, and Saint-Germain-des-Prés is among the most expensive residential neighborhoods in Paris.

In Saint-Germain-des-Prés is the Institut de France (Institute of France), an institution created in the seventeenth century that houses, among others, the Académie Française (Academy of the French language) and the Académie des Beaux-Arts (Academy of Fine Arts). Perhaps due to the proximity of the latter, the artistic vocation of Saint-Germain-des-Prés has not declined, and remains the neighborhood of the art galleries par excellence. Since 1998, an association that has 64 German-German galleries (2009 figure), promotes the activities of the branch in the neighborhood.