Some neighborhoods in Paris evoke certain images based on their name alone – the Latin Quarter, Montmartre – and the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood in Paris is no exception. Although arguably less famous than some other nearby sub-sections of the city, this classy area has become a favorite among travelers in the know. It’s not necessarily the most budget-friendly place to stay or eat in Paris, but it’s hard to beat for what could be the perfect combination of excellent location and not-overly-touristy crowd levels.
Making Saint-Germain-des-Prés your home-base for a trip to Paris means you’re sandwiched between the Latin Quarter, which is well-known for its nightlife, and the neighborhood containing the Eiffel Tower. So while you’re not right on top of a famous Parisian monument, you’re within easy reach of several, either on foot or via the efficient Paris Metro.
While some parts of Paris are named for their geography (Montmartre is the name of the hill the neighborhood sits on) or the crowds that used to hang out there (the Latin Quarter refers to the student population that has centered on the Sorbonne for hundreds of years), the St-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood in Paris is named for a church that lies at its heart. The Abbey of St-Germain-des-Prés is one of Paris’ oldest churches, and one of the district’s main sights, although much of the former buildings on the site no longer exist.
The Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood is located in Paris’ 6th arrondissement.
What to Do & See in St-Germain-des-Prés
The attractions worth noting in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood include:
- Abbey of St-Germain-des-Prés
- Musee d’Orsay
- Luxembourg Gardens & Palace (actually just bordering the St-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood, but close enough)
- Les Deux Magots Cafe
- Cafe de Flore
- Musée Eugène Delacroix
- Odeon Theatre
- Village Voice Bookshop
- Place St-Germain-des-Prés
- Boulevard Saint-Germain
Where to Stay in Saint-Germain-des-Prés
As mentioned earlier, the St-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood isn’t known as a cheap place to stay in Paris. For evidence of this, all you need to do is try to find a hostel within the district’s borders – there aren’t any! But there are a few hostels nearby that may suit you if you’re on a budget and you still want to stay reasonably close to this hip neighborhood in Paris.
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If you have a little more flexibility in your budget, the St-Germain-des-Prés area isn’t lacking for hotels – in fact, it’s packed with places to stay. Using the Abbey of St-Germain-des-Prés at the neighborhood’s heart as a starting point, for instance, you can see all the hotels in the district on the map linked below to find the one that works best for your budget.
Where to Eat in St-Germain-des-Prés
If there’s a noticeable dearth of cheap places to sleep in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the same can’t be said when it comes to places to eat in the area. Sure, this is the district where you’ll find two of the most famous cafes in all of Paris – Les Deux Magots and Cafe de Flore – but there are countless more cafes, brasseries, and restaurants throughout the streets of St-Germain-des-Prés.
>> Several Saint-Germain-des-Prés cafes are included on this list of the best cafes in Paris for people-watching
Trying to avoid the overpriced cafes? Then steer clear not only of the ones with famous names but also the ones with famous addresses. Any cafe on one of the popular squares or streets in the district will be more expensive just because of its location. So although the view is superb, if you’re more focused on your budget (or on the food & drinks themselves) then poke your nose down side streets and pay more attention to the cafes that seem to be full of Parisians – not tourists.
>> And don’t miss the Boulevard Raspail Market in the St-Germain-des-Prés – a great market for people-watching as well as picking up all the ingredients you’ll need for a fantastic picnic in Paris
How to Get to Saint-Germain-des-Prés
The St-Germain-des-Prés is easily reached via public transportation in Paris, and it’s central enough that if you’re staying in a St-Germain-des-Prés hotel or hostel you can also walk to many of the city’s sights.
St-Germain-des-Prés Bus Lines – 39, 63, 68, 70, 83, 84, 87, 96
Video Introducton to St-Germain-des-Prés