Saint-Germain-Des-Prés, this small village in the heart of Paris, where culture and heritage mingle, has always been the district of artists and intellectuals.

les deux magots, Paris

The name of an Abbey

The district of Saint-Germain-Des-Prés takes its name from the Saint Vincent Abbey founded by Childebert 1er who was the son of Clovis. He took the advice of Bishop Germain in 543. In the 7th century, the abbey was renamed Saint Germain des Prés church on his death. It is here, on the site of the current Lycée Louis-le-Grand, that the oldest and most important medieval European university was located, bringing together all the Parisian colleges on the left bank. In the 19th century, Racine, Balzac, George Sand, Musset, Verlaine, Rimbaud, Anatole France… Writers, poets and playwrights assiduously frequented the cafés of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Painters such as Delacroix, Ingres or Manet settled there.


The meeting place of artists

The district becomes the privileged meeting place of the artistic scene. Rediscover the spirit of the time by going to the Eugène Delacroix national museum, 6 rue de Fürstenberg, in the vast studio overlooking a small paradise garden and adjoining an apartment on the second floor where the painter had settled to get closer of the church of Saint-Sulpice and the chapel of the Saints-Anges, for which he had been entrusted with the decoration. Preserved and restored to their original state, these places offer living testimony to the art of living in the mid-19th century. During the Second World War, despite the curfew, the cafés of Saint-Germain-des-Prés remained open. Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir take over the Café de Flore “We see less verdigris there than at the Dôme (in Montparnasse)” declares the young associate professor of philosophy! More rustic, the Flore is not suitable for Wehrmacht officers. Dimly lit by acetylene lamps, the café became the work room of future great authors. Sartre wrote Les Chemins de la Liberté, a large part of L’être et le neant and his play Les Flies which aroused some controversy at the Liberation.

bonaparte cafe in sain-germain des près, paris

The fashion world too…

After art and culture, it is up to the world of fashion and luxury to want to establish themselves in this renowned district. In the 1960s, major luxury brands such as Yves Saint Laurent and Sonya Rykiel settled in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Nowadays, the biggest brands are vying to own a boutique and a piece of sidewalk in this chic area of ​​the city: Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Cartier, Hermès or Ralph Lauren. The creative effervescence that reigned in the district attracted many artists, painters, sculptors or visual artists, performers or designers. The Hotel La Louisiane thus became a privileged meeting place for Salvador Dali and Amanda Lear, Bernard Buffet, Alberto Giacometti, Vassilakis Takis, Dennis Oppenheim, Nam Jun Paik, Joseph Beuys, Keith Haring… Today many are dead but the tradition persists.

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