Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the epicentre of Arty Paris
Even if you haven’t been to Paris yet, you can picture the Eiffel Tower, the Sacré Cœur or the Champs-Elysées. But Paris has so much more to offer. Every neighbourhood or ‘arrondissement’, even every street brings its shares of surprises… On the Rive Gauche, the southern bank of the Seine River, stands the bustling neighbourhood of Saint-Germain-des-Prés located between the Eiffel Tower district and the Latin Quarter. This is the place to go if you want to experience the Parisian, artsy buzz in one of the fanciest areas of Paris!
It almost looks like a small village nestled around the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, which is built on what is now called the Place Saint-Germain-des-Prés. You can definitely picture what this neighbourhood was like back in the day.
As soon as you walk through the Café de Flore, on the Boulevard Saint-Germain, you’ll jump back in time. This place was considered as the general headquarters for the French revolutionaries back in the 17th century, before becoming a place of reflection and inspiration for philosophers, actors and other writers.
The Café de Flore was the home of many artists including Jean-Paul Sartre, Boris Vian and Serge Gainsbourg and several movies were also filmed here. If you are lucky, you might even see a few trendy actors living nearby dropping in for a coffee. Although, I would definitely recommend you treat yourself with their hot chocolate as this is one of the best you can get in Paris! Although quite pricey, their breakfast is pretty good, served with tasty croissants or pains au chocolat.
Make sure you have enough time for what is one of the favourite attractions in the area: shopping! You will find a wide selection of boutiques, from the luxury ones to the most popular brands, all the way down to Le Bon Marché. Located at the intersection of rue de Sèvres and rue Babylone, this is oldest department store in Paris and the only one on the Rive Gauche. But keep some time and energy for the rest of your trip as there are many more hidden gems you will discover in Paris.
Audrey is a sales executive in Ryanair’s marketing department